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Sir Walter Raleigh. 

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IX. THE KING'S'. ) J A.TH. ... 

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X. THE LAST VENTURE . . . 213 




SIR WALTER RALEIGH . . . Frontispiece 

(Frsm the Portrait in the National 'Portrait Gallery, 
artist unknown?) 


(From the Picture by Sir John Millais, R.A.) 

The End-paper>x' r c T;aJ7y'r(ie y '-ar..d: lyfejffhapter Illustrations 
: an by ''Mr. 


To Master George Edward Brown. 


You have given me permission to 
put your name in this book, so I owe it to you 
to explain its purpose. It is a life of Sir Walter 
Raleigh, told in eleven stories. I have taken the 
chief scenes in his life, and made some friend or 
follower write about them as if he had seen them 
with his own eyes. I do not know if there was 
ever a Gervase Luttrell or a Nathan Stubbs, but I 
know that people just like them lived in Raleigh's 
day, and saw and heard the things they write 
about here. So, though I have invented some 
of the characters, all that they tell us really hap- 
pened, and most of the little incidents and speeches 
will be found recorded in old books. It is a story, 
but an "ower true" story, and you must not think 
that it only came out of my head. 

It is intended for all sorts of people to read, but 


especially for boys. Sir Walter Raleigh is the 
most boyish hero in history. Till his head fell 
on the block he never lost his eager, generous 
interest in life. He was planning great adven- 
tures when other men are dull and middle-aged. 
His heart was always young and that is a very 
different thing from being childish. He made 
many mistakes, and paid heavily for them ; but 
no misfortunes could crush his spirit. When all 
that he had built fell about his ears, he set 
patiently to work to build it up anew. Like a 
great modern poet, he 

" Held we fall to rise, are baffled to fight better, 
Sleep to wake." 

He had almost every talent. He was a brilliant 
courtier, a gallant soldier and sailor, a great dis- 
coverer, a very wise statesman, a learned scholar, 
and a true poet. No man ever got more out of 
life, both joy and sorrow. He was never afraid 
to take risks, for he thought that achievement 
was cheaply purchased by suffering. His story, 
if we look at it in one way, is a tragedy, for all 
his ventures seemed to fail, and after weary years 
in prison he died on the scaffold. But, properly 


considered, it is a happy tale, for he never lost 
heart, and disaster never conquered his courage, 
He sowed the seed which bore fruit long after 
his time. It was the example and the teaching 
of Raleigh that first set our people forming 
colonies in new lands. The British Empire of 
to-day, and the Republic of the United States, 
are alike built on his dreams. So you see that 
after all he fulfilled the purpose of his life, and 
gave to the English race " a better Indies than 
the King of Spain's." 

Your affectionate friend, 
J- B. 


Chapter I. 

" Still climbing trees in the Hesperides." 

Love's Labour's Lost, iv. 3. 

5r p\VAS in the summer of 1564, I think, that 
I first got a hint of the quality of my 
playfellow. Our land in those days was at peace 
with Spain ; but both sides watched each other 
like sheep-dogs at a fair, waiting to spring on 
the first show of offence. For had not that 
gracious and magnificent lady, our Queen 
Gloriana, scoffed at the suit of His Catholic 

* This story was told by Sir John Buller, Knight, of Newkerne, in Devon, 
to his grandson Jack, who when he grew older wrote it down in a book. A 
second Jack, great-grandson of the first, used to read it on summer Sunday 
afternoons to his nephews and great-nephews, one of whom remembered it 
and long afterwards told it to me. 


and Spanish Majesty, who was little used to 
rebuffs from man or woman ? Likewise, the 
Queen of Scots was threatening alarums from the 
north, so it became all good lovers of England 
to keep their blades keen against evils to come. 
We were a band of five in the Otter valley, lads 
much of an age : myself, the eldest, not yet 
turned of thirteen. There was Dick Cham- 
pernoun from Clyst, the hardest hitter and the 
lustiest of the band. I see yet his yellow 
tumbled hair, and the steady grey eyes which 
death glazed five years later on the field of 
Moncontour. There was Humphrey Sneyd 
from ten miles up the water, who would ride 
down on a pony to our Saturday's sports with 
tales of the moormen and the outlandish ways 
of the hill country. There was Harry Duke, 
too, from Otterton, a silent lad, and the best 
to handle a boat I have ever known. Indeed, 
his true fellows were the sailor folk of Budleigh ; 
for any hours he could snatch from his school- 
ing he was off to the bass-fishing, or driving 
his little ketch in the worst gales of our parts. 
He had been east to Poole and west to Plymouth, 


but already he was sated with our coasts and 
burned for the high seas. 

And last there was Walter Raleigh from Hayes 
Barton, the youngest of the four, and as silent 
as Harry Duke, but with a different manner 
of silence. He was the only scholar in our 
band, and turned to his books as readily as 
to a horse or a full river. He had a fine 
virginal face, with the soft colour of a maid, 
and a low delicate voice. But there was that 
in his blue eyes which kindled at times into 
naked devilry ; and at such seasons, though the 
youngest, none dared gainsay his leadership. 
'Twas he who first leaped the awful chasm 
called Tamsin's Gap, and one winter day swam 
the roaring Otter because I had questioned his 
valour. 'Twas he, too, who at Bixton Fair, 
when the sailors and the moormen came to 
blows, headed a rally with a blunt hanger and 
sent the hill-folk scurrying out of the town. 

But to my tale. The summer of the year I 
speak of was hot and dry, so that we lads from 
the landward parts were fain to go often to the 
shore to swim and get the cool airs from the 


water, while we watched for great ships passing 
out Channel. Now at the little port of Budleigh 
there is an inn, The Flying Hinde its name, 
much frequented of merchants and travellers, 
and a place of resort, too, for the townsfolk and 
the neighbouring gentlemen. Opposite the inn, 
fronting on the sea, is a hillock of green grass 
with a little flagstaff atop of it, from which the 
eye has a noble prospect over the bay of Otter 
and out into the narrow seas. It was a pleasant 
place of a summer afternoon, with the bees dron- 
ing in the hot thyme and the gulls crying. The 
potman from The Flying Hinde would fetch 
tankards of ale, and any day about four o'clock 
you would find a bench of old seafarers telling 
tales of the great deep. To such tales we lads 
loved to listen Dick and Humphrey each prone 
on his face with a stem of grass between his lips, 
Harry walking restlessly with his eyes on the sea, 
and Walter Raleigh sitting with hands clasping 
knees, his gaze dwelling hungrily on the face of 
the narrator. 

On this afternoon there were but two on the 
hill. One was Noah Stubbs, an ancient sailor- 


man, wanting the left arm, whose family dwelt in 
Budleigh. Noah was something of an oracle to 
us younger folk, for he had adventured far in his 
travels, had seen the Main, and dealt lusty blows 
in the Spanish isles. A round shot in the Azores 
had carried off an arm, and, being turned sixty 
and well-to-do from his ventures, he had settled 
in a cottage with a venerable mother to spend his 
last years in peace. He was a square-set, brawny 
fellow, very deep in the chest, with a swarthy 
countenance and great black eyes like a Spaniard. 
He had hoops of gold in his ears, and bracelets 
of copper and golden wire at his wrist. His 
dress in summer-time was no more than a shirt 
and old breeches of seaman's cloth, below which 
his great knotted legs stood out like oak-trees. 
He had a habit of chewing some herb, so that 
his teeth were yellow as doubloons. 

The other was a stranger who came twice or 
thrice a year to our port, and dealt with the 
country folk in foreign merchandise. He was a 
Frenchman out of Brittany, a man of Noah's 
years but more fallen in his age. Master Laurens 
they called him, and all Budleigh paid him 


respect, for he had an eye that commanded it. 
He captained a merchant barque, but no man 
knew his home or his history, save that he was 
of the Reformed religion, and had fallen out with 
the French king in the matter of his faith. There 
were some said he had been a rover in the western 
seas and had repented of his sins ; others, that he 
had escaped from the Spanish galleys ; while 
others would have it that he was a noble of 
France who for state reasons came to us as a 
plain sea-captain. There was that in his grave, 
manly carriage that spelled gentility, if I am any 
judge of it. He spoke our tongue well, and 
would often sit within or without The Flying 
Hinde, listening to Noah's tales of his deeds, but 
himself speaking little. 

This day Noah was full of memories. He had 
sailed with Master William Hawkins, father of 
the great Sir John, in his ship Po/a, of Plymouth, 
to the African coast in quest of negroes, and had 
been ashore on nigh every isle of the Indies. He 
deplored the might of the Spaniard, and con- 
demned his insolence. 

" Look ye," he cried, " he claims the whole 


West in the name of Christ, and yet his deeds 
smell rankly to Heaven. What English blood 
can stomach the taunt ? If we so much as put 
our nose inside his Isles, the odds are we are 
shown the door with half our hulls blown off. 
Is it fit that the golden wealth of the Indies 
should go to fatten the Pope and his priests ? 
The reckoning comes, I tell you," and he spat 
fiercely on the ground. 

Walter Raleigh up and asked him about this 
wealth, and Noah's tongue grew looser. 

" Ha'n't I seen it with my own eyes ? I ha' 
been in Porto Bello at the summer Fair, when 
all the treasure of the Indies is brought together. 
I ha' seen the streets piled with silver ingots like 
causeway stones, and mule teams from Panama 
bringing every hour quintals of gold. Look ye, 
young masters, there be no end to the riches of 
those lands. Merchants walk the place like kings, 
and the Spanish Governors are more magnifical 
than any Emperor. Down from the mountains 
of New Granada comes emeralds as big as round- 
shot. There are pearls from Margarita, and 
cacao and costly herbs from Cartagena, and dye- 


woods from New Spain. Ay, and gold from the 
length and breadth of the Main, as plenteous as 
herrings on Budleigh Quay. There be a great 
King's ship, you must know, called the Navio del 
Oro, which plies from Panama to Callao, and 
collects King's tribute on that coast. They fetch 
it over the isthmus on mules, and oft I ha' longed 
for a hundred Devon men to wait snugly at a 
corner of the road. And out in the roadstead 
you may see the fleets of Spain, twenty war 
vessels with fifty guns apiece, awaiting to bear 
the treasure home. I ha' seen the General of 
the Galleons they call him General, which be 
a strange name for a sailorman come ashore in 
a pinnace with rowers in steel and scarlet, and 
a cloth o' gold on the thwart, and negresses 
a-waving palm-leaves to cool the air. Maybe 
you ha' seen the sight, Master Laurens ? ' 

The Frenchman shook his head. " I have 
never been to Porto Bello. But I have seen 
the Almirante of the Flota come ashore at San 
Juan d'Ulloa in somewhat less state. He swam, 
with his arm on a spar, what time his flagship 



Noah laughed. " The hand of God was not 
idle that day, camarado. Would that it moved 
oftener, for the sinking of a fleet or two would 
ease His Catholic Majesty of a little pride." 

Some one of us lads asked why, if such rich 
argosies sailed the seas, there were no enemies of 
Spain at hand to trouble them. I think we all 
dreamed that capturing a Spaniard was as easy as 
spearing a flounder in the Otter mouth. 

" They keep together," said Noah, " like the 
moormen at Bixton Fair. Nothing less than 
a dozen great ships of war could master the 
Galleons, and till Queen Bess fights King Philip 
the sight will not be seen. But we corsarios 
have adventured against single vessels, and often- 
times cut off a lesser ship. I mind at the Isle 
o' Pines But indeed I fear to speak of violent 
doings in your presence, masters." 

The Frenchman smiled pleasantly. "'Twas an 
honest cause and a clean war," he said. " The 
hearing will do these lads no ill, and I am too old 
and worn to be corrupted." 

" Well, 'twas but a little thing," said Noah, 
nothing loth. " We had no better craft than a 

(1,562) 2 


frail patache myself, Tom Carey of Bideford, 
an Irishman called Bourke, the Frenchman Jean 
Terrier, and four Indians from the Logwood 
coast. Our haven was the River of St. John in 
Florida, but we laid up like other venturers at 
the Isle o' Pines, under the lee of Cuba, and 
waited for what fortune God might send us. 
We watched the tall Galleons staggering up with 
the land wind to round old St. Antonio, and 
danced for grief that we must let 'em pass un- 
hindered. There they were, like a flock of 
swans, crammed to the bilge with gold, while 
we hungry Christians sat on a hot rock and 
cursed 'em. We durstn't venture, for one shot 
amidships would have sunk our crazy patache. 
We had captured her but a month before in the 
Bahamas, and she was foul and rotten with ill 
handling. For us to outface a navy was madder 
than for a sprat to charge a shoal of whales. So 
we waited and banned 'em. 

" The Galleons went down seas and out of 
sight, and presently comes another craft in their 
wake. In a trice I see what she was. She was 
the General's azogue, which had gone to Cam- 


peachy for the Tabasco tribute, and was now in 
a hurry to get up with her convoy. The silly 
thing had blundered too far south on her long 
tack. Then she had catched sight of the Galleons 
to the east, and swung round and come down 
wind after 'em. 

" We knowed it was the chance of our lives, 
and were in a stew to get started. We run the 
patache out into the wind with oars, and swooped 
down on the azogue like a fish-hawk. For a 
moment we thought she had the heels of us, 
and so she had if the lubbers aboard her had 
been seamen. Moreover, had she stopped to 
fight, she might ha' blown us out of the water, 
for we carried but two old guns, which would 
have missed a mountain at a catapult's length. 
But she were mad with fear, and held her course 
without a shot till we scraped her side and 
skipped over her bulwarks. Two hundred 
quintals of silver, camarados two hundred thou- 
sand honest English pounds, besides a good store 
of ducats. We towed her back to our island, 
where we marooned the Spaniards, and in three 
days got some kind of crew in her and sailed her 


back to English seas. Fourteen blessed weeks the 
voyage lasted, and Jean Terrier's leg had to come 
off along of a spar crushing it, whence ever after 
the Spaniards called him ' Pie de Palo.' That's 
all my tale, masters. Now that I ha' run into 
port for good, 'tis a kind of comfort to reflect 
that I once had a Governor of Campeachy 
plucking seafowls for my dinner." 

One of us asked him if he had ever fought the 
Spaniard at greater odds, for ship against ship 
seemed to us dull fighting. 

" Not I," said Noah. " They are better armed 
and manned than us, and 'twould have been 
tempting Providence too far to risk further odds. 
We were weak with eating rotten flesh and 
drinking foul water, and sweating 'neath a sun 
whose every beam is charged with fever. 
Would you have us add to Heaven's hardships ? 
Besides, we loved not to fall into the Spaniard's 
hands, for his tender mercies were cruel. At the 
best 'twas the galleys of Cadiz or glorifying God 
on the faggots in Valladolid Square. At the 
worst 'twas such torments as only fiends dream 
of." Noah, smiling grimly, bared his single 


arm and showed a long straggling seam from the 
wrist nigh almost to the shoulder. " The tale 
of that beauty mark won't bear telling to young 
ears," he said. 

I noted that Walter Raleigh's face had kindled. 
" Was there no man among you," he asked, 
" bold enough to captain the corsarios and make 
a fleet of your little ships ? ' 

" I ha' heard of but one," Noah answered, 
" and he left the seas long time ago. I never 
clapped eyes on him, but his name was as famous 
as King Philip's. Nay, not his name, for I never 
heard it, but a byname the Spaniards gave him. 
They called him ' The Luterano,' for he was a 
Frenchman of the Reformed faith and mightily 
incensed against the Pope. But withal he was a 
just man and a merciful, selling back his captives 
like a Christian for good gold, and never wantonly 
affronting a poor man. In truth, even in the 
Spanish lands, the common people praised him, 
for he would plunder the Almirantes and give a 
good tithe in charity to those they had grinded 
down. I ha' seen his topsails in the Bahama Keys, 
and 'twas a comfortable sight to watch the caravels 


and barques running for shelter to the forts like 
pullets when a sparrow-hawk hovers. I once 
shipped alongside his first seaman, a man out of 
Cornwall, an honest lad but full of fierce oaths. 
He had tales yea, by Harry's soul, he had tales." 

Noah stopped and hunted in the pouch of his 
breeches for some of the herb he chewed. He 
pretended to be afraid of Humphrey, who would 
have beaten him for his slow speech. " Mercy, 
brave sir, you melt my old bones. You look 
like the Luterano himself, when I saw him singe 
the beards of the Dons in Habana tideway." 

"But I thought you said you had never seen 
him," I put in. 

" In a manner of speaking I ha' not, and again 
in a manner of speaking I have. Leastways I 
ha' seen his ship, and I ha' seen him fight. 
'Twas in Habana, where for my sins I was carry- 
ing cut stone on the harbour wall along of 
blackamoors and Indians. An ill wind up in 
the Florida Keys had brought down on us a 
Spanish ship of war while we were all sick to 
death of the fever. She sank our craft, and with 
it my poor honest comrades, but I floated till a 


Spaniard grabbed my hair and haled me aboard. 
They took me to Habana, where I was fed on 
offal and set to toil with the Almirante's slaves. 
'Twas a grim task to sweat there in the steaming 
noons with the whip flicking off patches of your 
hide should you halt even to wipe your forehead. 
I was sunk in melancholy, for I mourned for my 
dead comrades, and but for a confident hope in 
God's charity, would ha' leaped, shackles and all, 
into the sea. 

" I ha' told you ere this of my escape through 
the merciful dispensation of an earthquake. But 
what I tell now happened in the blackest days of 
my captivity, and gave me grace to pluck up 
heart. One morning there came a rumour 
among us slaves of a bold deed at Chagre on the 
Main. It seemed that the Lord Viceroy of 
Panama had sent his own caravel to Hispaniola 
for horses, and that the loaded ship was on the 
point of making Chagre when up comes our friend 
the Luterano. His craft was ever a swift patache, 
in which he would strike down the greatest 
vessel that sailed the seas. In half an hour he 
had the Viceroy's crew under hatches, and 


presently all the horses were in the water 
swimming to land. The Luterano wanted no 
plunder, but only a seaworthy craft to oblige a 
friend. He dropped the Spaniards into the 
caravel's cock-boats to make the shore at their 
leisure, and upped sails and made for the seas. 
Here was a pretty singeing of His Majesty's 
beard, and there was hue and cry along the Main, 
and ships of war watching all the gates of the 
Isles. But never a trace could they find of the 
Luterano. Word came that a merchant had 
seen his sails off Margarita, and next morn there 
would be news of him from Campeachy. He 
spirited about these seas as if he were verily that 
Father of Lies the Dons believed him. W T e 
poor souls on the harbour wall heard the rumour 
of the tale and laughed at the jest of it, little 
witting that we were to see with our own eyes 
the next move of our brave gentleman. 

" A week later, one blistering midday, there 
rose a great crying from some small craft in the 
harbour. You must know, sirs, that the bay of 
Habana is a narrow one at the mouth, and runs 
far inland, growing shallower as it nears its head. 


The fort and city lie on one side of this bay, and 
on the other is a green swampy shore with much 
forest. We could see a light patache anchored 
there, and every merchant captain in the port 
shaking his fist at her and shouting that 'twas 
the Luterano. And sure enough she flew at her 
masthead the French lilies. 

" 'Twas like a mad dog, that every one shouts 
on his neighbour to kill but none durst go near. 
The patache lay peacefully at anchor, and a man 
on her deck played a little air on a tabor. There 
were five Spanish ships of war in the bay, but so 
great was the terror of the stranger that not one 
of the five or all of them together ventured 
near her. So there he might have lain as long 
as he pleased had it not been for the citizens of 
Habana, and especially my task - master, the 
Almirante of the port, who was determined the 
corsario should not escape him. So he summons 
the captains of the Spanish ships, and bids them 
at any cost take the Luterano, and promises to 
pay for any hurt done in the attempt to ships or 
men. Two captains refused, but three were so 
shamed by the Almirante that they assented to 


do his bidding, and sailed down on the little 

" The wind blew off the farther shore, and 
long ere the warships could tack across, the 
Luterano was fleeing for the upper end of the 
bay. He knew to an inch the depth of water, 
and scudded over shoals and bars where no 
heavier craft could follow. There he anchored, 
while a quarter mile outside the Spaniards halted 
and shot at him with their great guns. They 
never came near him, but continued the salvo 
till nightfall, and then, having a fear lest he 
should board them in the dark, they returned to 

" Next day 'twas the same. The five warships 
for the other two by now had plucked up 
courage sailed up with the tide and fired guns 
all the day. The shots fanned the air, maybe, 
into a pleasant coolness, but did not scrape a 
finger of paint from the little patache. A 
company of soldiers came round by land and 
would have rowed out to her, but her guns 
deterred 'em. The game was pleasant for the 
Luterano, for he had good anchorage, sweet 


water nigh at hand on the shore, and the spectacle 
of his foes and their foolishness. 

" The morning after, a hurricane blew down 
on us from the nor'-east, and the shipping 
in the port was like to break its moor- 
ings. The warships did not venture out, for 
their crews were as lubberly sailors as they were 
vile marksmen. They lay tied up to the shore 
with cables, one hull pounding on the other, 
while we on the harbour wall toiled in the teeth 
of the gale, thanking Heaven for the cool 
weather. Presently out of the scud we could 
see a little patache with every sail set and a bank 
of men at the sweeps, striving to get clear up 
the bay. 'Twas friend Luterano, weary of 
sitting on a mud bank. He had no time or 
room to tack, but trusted to the broad backs of 
his crew. 

" Instantly there was a commotion among the 
warships. And the three that had attacked the 
first day made haste to pursue. They cut their 
cables at the slack and plunged down wind after 
the patache. Now you must know that the 
tide in a nor'-easter in the port runs monstrous 


hard ; and what with the wind on the beam, and 
the furious waves and bad handling, all three 
were like to have foundered. By this time the 
patache was in the throat of the bay, and the 
ships of war, thinking her capture beyond hope, 
and being fearful of their lives, endeavoured to 
return. But they could not bring the vessels 
round, and the crews, falling into a panic, 
lowered the boats and made for the shore. One 
boat was swamped, but the other cargoes of 
tallow-chandlers came safe to port. 

".Presently the Luterano, casting a look back, 
saw how things were shaping. He observed 
three deserted ships of war tossing in the tide- 
way, and being a thrifty man sought to salve 
them. By Harry's soul, 'twas a sight to see how 
he drove his little ship in the teeth of a full gale 
and a swollen sea. We on the harbour wall 
cheered him lustily, for in the confusion of the 
wind none could hear us. He secured all three 
ships, while their crews watched him from the 
town. Having no need of a fleet, he laid a train 
of powder and set two of 'em alight. They 
blazed like a pharos as the wind caught their 


top-gear, and settled down on the lee shore 
to smoulder half the night. Meantime the 
Luterano put some of his men in the third and 
best of the ships, and sailed off to the Florida 
Straits to lie in wait for His Majesty's Galleons." 

Harry Duke tossed his cap into the air. 
" Bravo ! ' he cried. " There was a man and a 
seaman ! Would we had more of his breed ! ' 

Master Laurens smiled and shook his head. 
" 'Tis a good tale, Noah, but in one matter 
you err. I, too, have heard of your Luterano, 
and he cared little for the Galleons of Spain. 
He sought, like many adventurers, a bigger 

Walter Raleigh, whose eyes never left the 
Frenchman's face, asked him what that was. 

" A new world," he said softly. " He cared 
little to harry Spain, though 'twas a righteous 
work enough. But he burned all his days nay, 
burneth still if he is above the ground for a 
new Indies, where the Spaniard hath never trod. 
The West is full of the tales of it." 

" Ay, ay," Noah broke in ; " I too have had 
my hunt for El Dorado. I got a chart once out 


of Master Potter of Bristol, the true tale of one 
Tom Medlicot, with the bearings and soundings 
shown. But by following it I ran into the claws 
of the Almirante of New Spain, and lost chart 
and ship, and all but the breeches I stood in. I 
ha' never touched at El Dorado, masters, but I 
ha' seen such a place afar off when wind and tide 
suffered me to come no nearer." 

We asked him the whereabouts of the country. 

" 'Tis a week's journey nor'-nor'-by-east of the 
River of St. John. There is a multitude of 
islands, green as England, with air as sweet as a 
Devon moor, and all manner of fine pastures and 
orchard land. There are no fevers such as 
scourge the Main, and no hurtful beasts, and the 
soil is so good that a man may harvest twice a 
year. I had thoughts of planting myself there to 
wear out my old age, but the winds drove me off, 
and ere I could try again King Philip had laid 
hold on me. I ha' heard also from an Indian at 
Campeachy of a land in the mountains in the 
West where the sand of the rivers is gold, such as 
you read of in Holy Writ. But all Indians be 
mighty liars." 


" You have been to El Dorado, Master ? ' 
Raleigh asked the Frenchman. 

" I have seen it," said the old man, " or what 
I took to be it, but only afar off, like Moses from 

We were clamorous to know more of this 
Promised Land, and Master Laurens, wetting 
his finger with ale, drew a plan of it on the 
little table by which he sat. 'Twas Hebrew to 
us lads, but we gathered that the place lay in the 
south part of the Americas which the Spaniards 
call Tierra Firme, and many hundred miles 
south of the Main. It seemed there was a great 
river which Master Laurens called the Orinoko, 
a river as wide as our Narrow Seas. At first it 
flowed among salt marshes, and then as you 
travelled up its stream you came to great forests 
where strange beasts dwelt and stranger men. 
And after weeks and maybe months of travel, 
when the river had grown little, you came to 
uplands full of flocks and herds and fields of grain, 
and great Indian towns where gold and silver 
were of no account for commonness. And last 
of all, when the river was no more than a stream, 


came the high mountains. Far up in a vale of 
them is a cataract. And beyond the fall a great 
valley set among cliffs. That is the true El 
Dorado, for in that valley is the greatest and 
richest city of earth. The folk in it are as white 
as we of England, and noble in stature and 
countenance. They worship the one God in a 
temple whose roof is solid beaten gold, and all 
the streets are of marble and red jasper. 

Breathless, we asked him if he had had a 
glimpse of this marvel. 

" After many weary wanderings," he said, " I 
and three comrades came to the top of a high 
mountain and saw the valley afar off. We were 
faint with fever and huneer, and the si^ht revived 

c." 7 C 1 

our hearts. But there was no way to it from 
that mountain, for round the valley is a girdle of 
cliffs which only a bird may pass. For ten days 
we laboured to no avail, and then famine drove 
us back to the plain. One man of us would not 
return, but what befell him, whether he died or 
attained the city, I know not. Long after, I 
heard from an Indian of those parts that there is 
but one way to El Dorado. A man must ascend 








the river and find the track to climb the cataract. 
But the path is a secret kept by the people of 
the City, and though 'tis known to a few Indians 
of the plains none durst reveal it." 

The tale set our fancies aflame, and Walter 
Raleigh in especial could sit still no longer. 

" We will make a band among us to enter 
the Golden City," he cried, and we four assented, 
while Noah sat laughing, and the old Frenchman 
looked at us beneath his brows. 

" 'Tis a road many have trod and none have 
mastered," he said. 

" Ay," said Walter, " but we will tread it with 
a single heart from our first manhood. Though 
we win to it with bent backs and silvered hair, 
yet win to it we shall." 

The Frenchman smiled. 

" And when you win to it, what will you do ? ' 
he asked. 

" Then," said Walter, taking off his hat and 
bowing low, " I will give our gracious lady, the 
Queen of England, a better Indies than ever the 
King of Spain hath." 

That was the first time I heard the saying 

(1,562) 3 


which later was often on my comrade's lips, and 
indeed was the maxim of his life. 

Master Laurens approved. He nodded gravely. 
" I think there is that in your brow, lad, and in 
your eyes which spells fortune. It may be good 
or ill, but 'twill be a high fortune. I think you 
will win to the Indies and make much ado there ; 
and if you do not win to El Dorado, you will seek 
it all your days and leave the quest only at death." 

Then he took from his pouch a little gold 
trinket such as a man may wear at his collar. 

" You are of the breed I love, dear lad, and I 
will give you a charm to wear against ills to 
come. Mayhap 'twill bring you to your 
Promised Land, for 'tis from the tomb of a 
great King of the Indians who died long ago. 
It never brought me good luck, but it brought 
me joy in the quest, and I think that is the best 
fortune for a man. I cannot read the stars for you, 
but I can foretell one part of your fate. You will 
get great joy and great sorrow out of life, but 
you will never lose the savour and zest of it." 

There was that in the air and the occasion 
which held us silent. Walter Raleigh took the 


jewel, blushing boy-like a little, and stammering 
his thanks. 

" Master, I will wear your gift all my days, 
but I would fain know the name of the giver." 

The Frenchman smiled. 

" If any man asks you that question in these 
parts, say the jewel came from Pierre Laurens of 
Le Havre, a merchant of silks and cloths, and 
owner of the barque Saint Esprit. But if any 
ask it you on the High Seas, or west of the 
Azores, or in the Isles, or on the Main, say that 
the giver was the Luterano." 

Chapter II. 

" We are those fools who could not rest 

In the dull earth we left behind, 
But burned with passion for the West, 

And drank a frenzy from its wind ; 
The world where small men live at ease 

Fades from our unregretful eyes, 
And blind across uncharted seas 
We stagger on our enterprise." 

- The Ship of Fools. 

Chapter II. 



. . . ^HE country I travelled was as wild as 
the nether limits of Muscovy. From 
the ill-marked track ran wastes of bog and stone, 
with shining pools of water scattered among 
them, and at intervals a roaring stream, brown as 
October ale. No human habitation appeared, 
though here and there was a charred patch of 
ground where may have stood one of the huts 
which my lord Grey had burned in his war with 
the Geraldines. Low hills, shaggy with dwarf 
trees, skirted the road at a distance of a mile or 
two, and held the morasses, as it were, in a cup. 
I had noted that for the last hour the little 
streams had taken the same direction as the 

f Written down by Gervase Luttrell, soldier of fortune, during a convalescence 
after wounds received in the Low Countries. The manuscript was given by 
him to a fellow-campaigner, Neill Macintyre of Glenbreac, in Argyll, among 
whose family papers it may still be read. 


track, so I looked presently to reach a river of 
some magnitude. Sure enough, as I came over 
a ridge I perceived a broad glen below me filled 
with a wood of oaks and hollies, and from some- 
where in the thicket came the roar of swollen 

That morn I had set out from the town of 
Youghal to seek my Captain. A month before I 
had been appointed lieutenant to Captain Raleigh's 
foot-band, at the noble wage of two shillings a 
day. I had come hungry from the wars in the 
Low Countries, where under Sir John Norn's I 
had for long been maintaining the cause of the 
Reformed religion and His Highness of Orange. 
The chance of Irish service offered me through 
the graces of my cousin at Court, my lady 
Dawtrey, was not to be scoffed at by a poor 
soldier. I had heard of the country as an 
excellent school of arms, where a man might win 
skill in his trade, albeit there was small hope of 
winning riches. Furthermore, I had a notion to 
serve under Captain Raleigh, the fame of whom 
was beginning to reach the ears even of us lean 
waiters upon Fortune. He was but a year or two 


my elder, and already had fought campaigns in 
France and Flanders ; and had lately captained 
a ship with Humphrey Gilbert to fight the 
Spaniard. The news of his Irish doings had set 
the town ringing. For if Drury and Malby and 
my lord Grey had chastised the rebels with whips, 
this Raleigh had a taste for scorpions. The tale 
of the slaughter at Smerwick was so fierce that 
many of the stoutest 'twas said even the Queen 
herself thought the thing barbarously done. 
For myself, I love a fierce man who wars with his 
whole heart, and 'twas this whim of mine, as 
likewise my poverty, which had set me spurring 
this May morning to join my Captain. 

I had scarce entered the shade of the oaks, 
when a man, running blindly down the steep, all 
but charged into my stirrups. He started back 
and would have fled, but I laid hold on his long 
hair and held it firm. He was a lath of a man, 
with famine burning in his eye-sockets, and in 
my hands was no stronger than a straw. 

" Where away so hastily, my lad ? ' I said. 
But the creature shook his head ; he knew not 
the English tongue. 


Then I gripped him by his ear. 
" If this is treason," says I, " you will pay 
dear for it. Has Captain Raleigh passed this 
way ? ' 

The name was familiar, for he nodded his head. 
" Rol-lee, Rol-lee," he repeated, and pointed down 
the road. 

" Good," says I ; " then here's a girdle-cake 
for your news." I tossed him food from my 
wallet, and left him squatted in the track, tearing 
it like a famished wolf. 

Presently I saw ahead of me in the oak glade 
a little company of horsemen, and hailed them. 
They stopped as one man and wheeled, and the 
leader of them rode forward to greet me. This 
was the first time I had clapped eyes upon the 
great Walter Raleigh, destined ere long to be the 
most shining figure in Europe. He was a stalwart 
man, with a very proud carriage of the head, 
and a cheek browned by moorland wars. Save 
for his eyes, there was nothing to mark him out 
from other Captains of birth and mettle. But 
those eyes I see yet the strange glint of them, 
as they looked into the heart of a man. I have 


never seen eyes so fearless and so keen. They 
were merry, too, as if, looking through one, he 
saw a pleasant landscape beyond. There was fire 
in them, the silent fire which glows in the white 
heart of the furnace and never sputters into flame. 
But above all there was pride, the pride which is 
so masterful that it asks for no recognition, which 
would condescend on kings and emperors, yea, 
on all things save Almighty God. In a flash 
I think I had the nature of the man, and his 
history has not proved me false. For this Cap- 
tain was of so great a soul that he must look 
over the heads of other men and do his work 
stooping. Judge if a task be best done with a 
bowed back. 

I think I hated him as his eyes ran me through. 
He asked me my name and warrant, nodding 
carelessly to my answer. Then he bade his men 
drop a bow-shot behind, while he and I rode 
ahead, and a frieze-clad kern trotted with us to 
show the way. 

" A grim land," he said, looking round him. 
" Did you see aught of beast or man on your 
way from Youghal ? ' 


I told him of the creature whose ear I had 
held at the edge of the oak-wood. He narrowed 
his eyes till they were like nuts seen through half- 
open shells a way he always had when he 

" I was warned of trouble," he said to himself. 
" Besides, the land was more than usual empty ; 
'twas like a graveyard. Do you think the fellow 
carried a message ? " he asked. 

" If he did, he could not carry it far," I 
answered. " He carried too little flesh on his 
bones. The thing was as frail as a new-born 

I had heard of my Captain as very little com- 
passionate. But now his face softened till, but 
for his beard, it might have been a handsome 

" Ay, that is the curse on't. The innocent 
poor folk are starving. You will see them lie 
dead on the moss with half-chewed herbs in 
their teeth. And all the while the vermin of 
Rome grow fat, priests and Spaniards are in 
every hold, and the native lords are harsher 
oppressors than ever we English were. God 


knows I have never lifted my hand on one of 
the poor Irish, but God forget me if I spare 
and smite not the leeches that prey upon their 

By this time we were at the crest of a little 
hill in the forest, and saw below us the track 
running to a ford. 'Twas the river I had guessed 
the presence of, a swollen and angry current, 
with wood and thatch bobbing in its eddies. 
Around the ford was a close thicket of young 

" We must swim, sir," I said ; " and if you 
have any foes in the countryside, it is by that 
ford you must look for them." 

" True, Mr. Luttrell," he answered, a little 
smile playing round his mouth. " 'Tis a fine 
tryst for my ill-wishers. The scarecrow you met 
would be taking the tidings. There is a certain 
Fitz-Edmunds, whom they call in these parts the 
Seneschal of Imokelly. Haply he is down among 
the hazels. But I grieve to tell you that he is a 
cowardly knave, and would not come out to fight 
me with fewer than four hundred foot and horse. 
Now I do not think such a force could be levied 


within a hundred miles, so I fear we shall not 
meet the Seneschal." 

" Were it not wise to wait for your troop, 
sir ? " I ventured. 

" Troop ? " he cried. " Nay, lad, let's draw the 
coverts ourselves, and see if we can start an 
old fox." 

His eyes suddenly grew light and wild as a 
boy's. He spurred his horse and galloped 
furiously down the track to the water, while 
I followed as best I could, leaving guide and 
troop to come on at their pleasure. We slithered 
among oak-roots and rasped through bramble 
thickets ; my face was slashed by errant boughs, 
and many times I had like to have been on my 
nose. It seemed like a second's time from the 
brow of the hill till the first wash of the stream 
took my horse's pasterns. 

That mad race was our salvation. There were 
watchers by the ford, but we were on them ere 
they looked for us. We were stemming the 
water before they could close in, and happily 
they had small store of arquebuses. Some half- 
dozen got before the Captain, and I saw his 


sword flash and the water redden. But I had 
little leisure to watch him, for, being second 
in the race, I received the larger part of the 
freebooters' notice. They clung to my saddle, 
and reached long arms for my bridle and the 
joints of my corselet. These were no kerns who 
assailed me, but foreign fellows with the dark 
cheek of Spain and Italy, the same as Alva had 
led to the pillage of the Hollanders. There was 
also one man, wearing a saffron jerkin over a 
cuirass, who sat his horse in the current and 
issued orders. I supposed him the Seneschal, 
and being very wroth I fired on him with my 
pistol. But the swaying and confusion gave me 
a poor aim, and the delay gave my assailants a 
chance, so that I had almost ended my Irish 
wars at the start of them. 

I was torn from the saddle and dragged under 
the turbid stream, swallowing great draughts of 
water and mud. Choking and blinded, I found 
my feet at last and got my head above the 
current. But then I was in no better case. The 
river ran near my armpits, and that and the crush 
of men gave me no liberty to use my sword. 


'Twas all a mad mellay of claw and tooth, a game 
which two dozen of the scum of Seville will play 
better than a lonely gentleman. Meantime I 
was aware of Captain Raleigh shaking himself 
on the farther bank, and bellowing for his troop 
to hasten. He seemed to have forgotten my 
case, so I minded him of it by a cry for succour. 
The next second he had taken the flood again 
like a man possessed. 

I heard (there were three trying to pull me 
down) a head crack like a nut, and a sob or two 
as men choked in the stream. Then a hand 
clutched my collar and dragged me over a horse's 
hindquarters. " Hold by my middle," said a 
voice, " till we find deep water." 

I did as I was bid, and but for a pike wound in 
my left thigh I came scatheless over the stream, 
and found that my horse had already swum to 
shore. As I crawled into the saddle again I saw 
my Captain, pistol in hand, shouting taunts to 
the Irishry who still swarmed in the water. 
Then came a yell of dismay, and the insurgents 
scattered everywhither, while our troop, whom 
they took to be the vanguard of an army, clattered 


down the hill. At this the Captain changed his 
shouts into a roar of laughter. 

" Saw you ever such a man ? ' he cried. 
" There lives not the like of the Seneschal of 
Imokelly. He has no more than twenty men to 
our one, and lo ! he is running like a hare. 
I owe him somewhat for the scratch on your 
leg, Mr. Luttrell. Rest assured I will pay it. 
He will yet swing beside his yellow -faced 
Walloons, for such a cur deserves no gentleman's 

After this spirited encounter we rode on to the 
city of Cork, where Captain Raleigh was closeted 
with my lord Grey of Wilton, while I sat in the 
common room of the Castle, with a bandaged leg, 
finding much entertainment from the converse of 
the officers of the Lord Deputy. Their chief tales 
were of this Captain of mine, about whom I was 
still in a divided humour. He had saved my 
life, 'twas true, but his courtesy was as a bone 
cast to a dog, a thing on which he seemed to set 
small value. There was ever in his eye that 
look of seeing me as smaller than God made me 
and I deemed myself. And yet at other times 


there flowed from him a merriment and a good 
fellowship which drew me to the man as he were 
my own brother. 

In five days' time I was bidden attend my 
Captain on a journey to the West. We took 
fifty men of our foot-band, for 'twas a mission 
of espionage and enquiry, in which we might 
fight or treat according to the humour of the 
rebels. Never have I seen a more sad and miry 
land. Two days we rode up the vale of a marshy 
stream, avoiding the morasses by endangering our 
necks on a rocky hillside. 'Twas the forefront 
of Spring, when in my native shire of Somerset 
the meads are bright with cuckoo-buds and cow- 
slips, and every coppice is sweet with violets. 
But here there was nothing but a brown desert, 
where nesting moor-birds wailed dismally like the 
spirits of the lost. There were few inhabitants, 
and the huts of such as we saw were worse than 
an English sty. Now and then we would 
reach a fortalice, and some Irish lord would 
descend to greet us, with as like as not a dozen 
of our own soldiery quartered on him to devour 
his substance. I liked little the shifty wild eyes 


of those Irish ; and as for their speech it was hid 
from me, for when they spoke our tongue 'twas 
with a mad roundabout twist in it. All the 
while the Captain would ride at the head of us, 
I at his side, and his mind very far from those 
weary deserts. Sometimes he would hum little 
snatches of song, and at other times he would be 
sunk in a contemplation from which I did not 
dare to summon him. As wayside company I 
have seen his better, but my liking for him 
advanced during those silent stages. There was 
in his air something secret and potent and 
masterful, and I resolved that if he were not 
a man to love he was assuredly a man to follow. 
On the third day from Cork we came over 
a high ridge of mountain, and descended into a 
very lovely vale, which ran out to the Western 
Ocean. Here at length were we privileged to 
meet the Spring, for the fields and bushes were 
green and quickening, and every thicket was a 
cage of singing birds. At the foot we came to a 
narrow bay of salt water, which the Irish name a 
" lough," and riding by its side reached the castle 
of Kilmorice. The sentinel who challenged us 

(1,662) 4 


told us that the land was quiet, and that Sir 
Thomas Astley had gone west to treat with 
the Chiefs of Desmond. 

Indoors we found but one officer of the guard, 
the others having gone west with Sir Thomas. 
But in the great stone hall was seated a slim 
young man, who at the sight of us cried out and 
ran forward. I have rarely seen a face so 
transfigured as was my Captain's. The high and 
half-scornful demeanour vanished like ice in thaw. 
He clasped the young man in his arms and kissed 
him on both cheeks. " The sight of thee, old 
friend," he cried, " were worth a century of 
Irish journeys ! ' 

The young man, I heard, was Master Edmund 
Spenser, a clerk of Cambridge, and chief secretary 
to my lord Grey of Wilton. He had a pale face 
and great brown eyes, which, in contrast with 
the alert gaze of a soldier, seemed drowsy and 
dreamy. He was most courteous in his conduct, 
offering us all manner of refreshment, and hold- 
ing my Captain's hand as if he feared to lose him. 
Now I had been but a week in Captain Raleigh's 
service, but such was his power that his manifest 


love of Master Spenser provoked me to an 
extreme jealousy. I would have given my soul 
to have had my Captain's face glow thus at the 
sight of me. 

As we sat in the hall after meat, with the 
rumour of the sea around us, Master Spenser fell 
into a doleful mood. He lamented the sorrows 
of the Irish land, and the sad barbarities of war. 
Likewise he reproached his friend for his violence. 
The sack of Smerwick, of which he had been 
witness, still burned in his brain. " 'Twas not 
war, Walter," he cried ; " 'twas a naked shambles. 
What profits our knightlihood if at the touch 
of wrath we become ravening beasts ? ' 

My Captain replied very gently : " Nay, 
Edmund, I have no shame of Smerwick in my 
soul. Death, violent death, is always a harsh 
sight ; but if there be justice in it, it may take 
on the fairness of duty done. When I think of 
Smerwick I think of the bloodier shambles to 
which the men who died there had aforetime 
condemned the innocent." 

" But they died unarmed and in cold blood," 
said Master Spenser. 


" So does the murderer on the gallows. And 
murderers and gallows-birds they were, every 
man of them. I blame my lord Grey for one 
thing only. He held the officers to ransom in- 
stead of sending them the way of their men. 
Mind you, they held no commission. They 
came out of the Pope's prisons and the darkest 
holes of Spain to make war without cause in 
this wretched land. That foul priest, Nicholas 
Saunders, was their fugleman ; and their leaders 
were miscreants whom Europe had long ago cast 
forth. What treatment, think you, did they 
mete out to the English ships they took ships 
out of my own Devon ? What pity had they 
on the prisoners at Dingle ? Have you heard 
how they used Youghal when they took the 
town, and slit every child's nose, and gouged out 
women's eyes, and slew every male thing ? There 
is a long tally to count, and that morn at Smer- 
wick went but a little way to the reckoning. 
When the Pope's vermin creep out of their dark 
haunts there is but one way to serve them. Let 
God's good light into their souls, though it be 
by steel and bullet." 


Captain Raleigh's face had turned grim as 
death, and Master Spenser seemed to shrink from 
him. He saw the movement, and, stretching 
his arm, clasped his friend's hand. 

" You think me a fiery Protestant, Ned ? But 
indeed I have cause and good reason. Did I not 
watch all through the night of Saint Bartholo- 
mew, when Queen Catherine and her Guises 
slaughtered those of the Reformed faith ? That 
night I saw the gutters of Paris run with the 
noblest blood of France. I saw priests swollen 
with the lusts of hell urging on the spawn of 
the kennels to their accursed work, and crying 
the meek name of Christ as their warrant. I 
saw the shadow of an uplifted Cross lie athwart 
those scenes of death. And I swore by the 
living God that I, Walter Raleigh, should do 
what in me lay to root out of the earth this evil 
thing called Rome. The Pope is my foe, and 
after him his son of Spain, and till my right arm 
wither I shall strike at the cruel mummery of 
Rome and the blind tyranny of the Spaniard." 

Master Spenser shook his head. " You have 
the fury in your bones," he said. " I mind when 


first I knew you, you told a tale of your mother's 
about a woman who suffered for her faith at 
Exeter Castle in Queen Mary's days, and you 
could scarce speak for tears. But, Walter, I 
would not reprove you for your religion. Heaven 
be my witness, that I love a man who will 
strike for his faith. But if you war against hor- 
rid cruelty and arrogance, I would have you 
war with a Christian reasonableness, not forget- 
ting the ensample of the great Captain of our 

I had seen my master in many moods, but 
now I saw him in the strangest of all. There 
came into his face a gravity and a weight of 
reflection, the extreme opposite of his usual 
pride or his boyish merriment. 'Twas the 
face of one who thinks high thoughts and sees 
far horizons. 

"I would remember," he said, "our great 
Ensample ; but I conceive that if our Master be 
the Prince of Peace, He is no less the God of 
Battles. We of England, as I read the times, 
stand at the turn of our destiny. There is about 
us a black old world of ignorance and terror, 


where men's souls are enslaved to priests and 
their bodies to tyrants. We English stand for 
freedom and God's sunlight, and there can be 
no truce between us and the enemy. I take my 
motto from Holy Scripture : c We wrestle not 
against flesh and blood, but against principalities, 
against powers, against the rulers of the darkness 
of this world ' ! " 

But Master Spenser still shook his head in 

" Nay, lad," said Raleigh, " I do not ask you 
to follow me. You are a poet, who sees a rosy 
world of his own creating, and by his skill makes 
of this drab earth in time something akin to his 
fancy. I am the plain man, who must dig and 
delve and make crooked things straight. In the 
end," he said, laughing in his subtle way, " we 
may reach the same goal, and by God's grace 
I may win some of the happiness of the poet." 

That day, as it chanced, was the last I was 
to spend at ease for many months, since next 
morn we were summoned northward to the wars. 
Of my wounds and captivity I shall tell later, 
as also of my Captain's notable gallantry and 


excellent generalship. But on this afternoon I 
had, I think, a clearer sight of his great heart 
than I was ever to get thereafter. I had begun 
with hate, and hitherto I had swayed between 
admiration and dislike. I had seen him as a 
mad boy, as a proud courtier, and as a sage states- 
man. Now I was to see him as a friend, and 
there was nothing under the vault of heaven 
more entrancing than the friendship of Walter 

It had rained at midday, but in the evening the 
sky cleared, and my Captain bade me accompany 
him abroad to take the air, while Master Spenser 
sat indoors at his despatches. We ascended a 
rough hillside to a kind of table-land, and walked 
westward to where a great cliff broke down to 
the sea. 'Twas a bright evening, with fresh, 
clear airs blowing, and the whole sky ablaze with 
gold and crimson. He linked his arm in mine 
as we walked on the turf, with the sunset in our 
eyes, and he discoursed to me of my youth and 
my fortunes. 

There are hours which are landmarks in a 
man's course, and which, in the retrospect, stand 


out like shining hilltops above the desert of his 
common occupations. Such was this hour to 
me ; for it gave me the friendship of the greatest 
man I ever knew, and likewise a new purpose 
in life. Captain Raleigh talked little, but there 
flowed from the man that influence which is 
more persuasive than any words. The mere grasp 
of his arm was a power to convert a multitude. 

By and by we stood on the sea-cliff, looking 
over a golden sea, with a dying sun making 
a path of crimson across the waters. 

" I spoke of warring with Spain," said he, 
" but 'tis not in Europe that we will vanquish 
her. Graft this on your mind, Gervase, lad: 
the battlefront of our faith is gone from the 
Old World." 

I am dull of understanding, and asked 
" Whither ? " 

" To the New World," he said. " The wars 
to come will be fought in the West. It is there 
that we of England can wreck King Philip and 
checkmate the Pope. Man, man, can you not 
see ? We must have an Indies of our own : a 
New World to set against theirs. We must 


have wealth like Spain's, and a land to try the 
mettle of our youth. Give me that, and Europe 
is less to me than a pinch of dust." 

He walked a few paces by himself to the 
extreme edge of the cliffs, and I waited behind, 
perceiving that he desired solitude. There he 
stood for maybe half an hour, watching the sun 
sink lower in the great ocean. There was a 
golden light on his hair and beard, and his figure 
on that headland was like some god of old 
romance. Then he turned to me, and in the 
twilight I could see that his eyes were once again 
light and wild, like a boy's. 

" We are fools, Gervase, fools ! ' he cried. 
" Why do we abide in this dull land, making war 
on peasants, when there is the sea, the sea ? We 
are no landsmen, we English. We fight best on 
the water. ... I have tried both warfares, and 
give me the salt air and the bellying of full sails, 
and the crash of timber and the clink of clean 
steel ! A plague on a soldier's duties ! If 
Brother Humphrey and his tall ships were in 
the bay there, I think I would cast duty to 
the winds. Get the West into your heart 


and blood, lad. 'Tis the goal of all English 

Then he drew his sword, and statelily saluted 
the dying sun. 

" Addio? he cried. " Another day we will 
follow your path, old friend." 

By this time the dusk was falling grey. His 
face had grown stern again, as he turned to take 
my arm. 

" Let us return for a little longer to our moor- 
land wars," he said. 

Chapter III. 

" To the heart of youth the world is a highwayside. 
Passing for ever, he fares ; and on either hand, 
Deep in the gardens golden pavilions hide, 
Nestle in orchard bloom, and far on the level land 
Call him with lighted lamp in the eventide." 




^^^^^^^^ : --^ 


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Chapter III. 

. . . J7DMUND SPENSER, my friend and 
master, has made a sweet tale of those 
whom he calls Belphoebe and Timias, by which 
names he signifies the Queen's excellent majesty 
and her knight, Walter Raleigh. The tale I now 
tell concerns both high personages at a great 
moment. Its stage is a greensward and a palace ; 
the other players are the maids and gentlemen of 
Belphoebe's court ; and the scenes are moved by 
the Loves and Destinies. 

On Midsummer Day of the year 1587 the 
Court lay at Ashridge, the great house by Berk- 
hampstead, in the shire of Hertford. Thither I 
came in the train of my lord Burghley, for he 

* From the papers of Sir Gabriel Bretton, poet, playwright, and Knight of 
the Shire for Sussex. Sir Gabriel also left an MS. play on the subject, en- 
titled Gloriana, or The Courtier UnmasKd. 


needed a scholar by his side, being himself un- 
handy with the pen. Her Majesty the Queen 
Gloriana, as the wits named her, had ridden from 
Windsor, and was busy with her maids in the 
ordering of a Midsummer masque. This noble 
lady had aforetime been gracious in her notice of 
me, and the last summer, in her progress through 
my own shire of Sussex, I had been favoured 
to lead the revels with her at Battle. I looked 
now for some share in the sunshine of her regard, 
but found that a greater had forestalled me. For 
with the Court was Sir Walter Raleigh, whose 
light had dimmed my lord Leicester's, and for 
the moment shone brightest in the sky of fashion. 
Some years before he had returned from the Irish 
wars, and had been given great lands and offices, 
so that his state far outran the modesty of a 
private gentleman. There was none so high, not 
even my lord Burghley, who did not seek his 
favour. He had sent forth fleets to the Indies, 
and had created a new England in the West, 
which he named Virginia in his mistress's praise. 
Likewise in Ireland he played the part of mer- 
chant adventurer, and had made of his estates an 


English plantation. I liked the man little, but 
I was overborne by his magnificence. 'Twas not 
riches or power alone, but poetry and learning 
that he sought. He was the friend of all 
scholars, and in the Mermaid Tavern in Bread 
Street held symposia, where all who loved the 
Muses found fair fellowship. To his lodgings by 
the river in the palace of the Lord Bishop of 
Durham trooped the wits of England. Once and 
a-gain I had been privileged to join them, and 
found sage divines side by side with playwrights, 
and all held captive by their host's address. Two 
years before, indeed, I had supped with him, and 
listened till cock-crow while he discussed divine 
philosophy with the lamented Sir Philip Sidney 
and an Italian, by name Giordano Bruno, who 
was little admired by the devout. As I say, I 
liked him not, but all men love to watch the 
transit of a bright star. So I watched from my 
humble coign, and was not ashamed to find my 
eyes dazzle. 

My little masque 'twas a thing about Flora 
and the Hours was graciously accepted by the 
Queen, who said 'twould do as well as another 


for her maids to show their pretty ankles in. 
But as I walked in the herb garden I fell in with 
Sir Walter, whose memory held my face. Said 
he, " Your plaything lacks salt, Sir Gabriel. 'Tis 
dainty as a madrigal, but sugar cloys. Your 
nymphs are but silken wenches, and no daughters 
of Themis and the king of gods." 

His manner ruffled me, and I answered that a 
masque was in essence a silken thing. " Would 
you have me set a dance of Amazons ? ' I 

" Nay, little poet," he said, pinching my ear 
in his mocking fashion. " But a thing may be 
fine and yet hard as adamant. The slim goddess 
may wield the lightnings. Regard my blade," 
he says, letting his sword slip half out of its 
sheath. " It bends like whipcord, it sings like a 
lute, and yet 'twill split a skull if rightly wielded. 
And this arm of mine is no branch of oak, but I 
wager 'twould keep its own against the lustiest 
smith's. There, Sir Gabriel, I give you a theme 
for a sonnet. You may call it ' Strength not in 
Bulk but in Spirit,' and sing it to an Italian air." 

We strolled past the sundial and out of the 


yew portal, while I fumed with wrath at the 
man's presumption. 'Twas the truth that stung 
me ; for I knew in my heart that my Hours were 
but silk and cambrick, things neither divine nor 
human. Now from so high a wit as Raleigh I 
would have taken reproof gladly, had his air been 
otherwise. But he treated my craft as it had 
been a child's whim. The next moment, indeed, 
he had forgotten that he had spoken, and was 
twitching the lilies' heads with his ivory wand 
and humming a little tune. I looked sideways 
at him as we walked, and marked the insolent 
grace of his form and the noble poise of his head. 
He walked with the freest carriage I have ever 
seen in man, as if he were indeed lord of life and 
the world his humble minister. 

On the pleasaunce we found Her Majesty with 
her maids and a dozen gentlemen of the Court, 
seated in a green spot shaded by beeches. The 
Queen was working embroidery, and capping 
verses with young Master Trefusis, who lay at 
her feet. As we neared, she cried out to me 
and bade us join the circle. I awaited by the 
edge of the group, but Sir Walter sate himself 



by the Queen's side next to a tall fair maid, Mis- 
tress Elizabeth Throckmorton, who welcomed 
him shyly with a smile. Gloriana noted the 
greeting, and frowned. 

" We speak of love, my Raleigh," she said, 
with an acid in her voice. " Here are we all 
equipped for a pastoral, singing like shepherdesses 
of the Golden Age. Master Trefusis has been in- 
diting a doleful ballad to my Bess's eyebrows. See 
if you can better it. Speak it, Master Trefusis." 

The boy blushed hotly. " An your Majesty 
please, 'twas not my own. 'Twas a song of Kit 
Marlowe's that he called ' The Passionate Shep- 
herd to his Love.' If it be your will, I will 
repeat it." 

He declaimed in a dulcet voice a pretty poem 
in which a shepherd bribes his lady with the joys 
of a country life. The maids clapped their hands. 

" Better it, Sir Walter," said the Queen. 

" Nay, Madam, give me a minute's grace, and 
I will write the lady's answer," he said. 

He plucked forth his tablets and wrote for a 
little while. Gloriana's hands were busy with 
her stitches. 


" What a housewife I am ! ' she cried. " I 
have not wrought so hard since as a child, in 
this very place, I made baby clothes for Mary, 
my royal sister. Some day I will show them to 
you. Delicate work, I vow, and as quaint a bribe 
as sisterly fear ever devised for sisterly whimsies. 
Ay de mi! The gift and its cause alike came to 
little. How now, Sir Walter ? Is your response 
complete ? ' 

Raleigh lifted his head, and looking now at 
the Queen and now at Mistress Throckmorton, 
read his verses : 

" If all the world and love were young, 
And truth in every shepherd's tongue, 
These pretty pleasures might me move 
To live with thee and be thy Love. 

But Time drives flocks from field to fold ; 
When rivers rage and rocks grow cold ; 
And Philomel becometh dumb ; 
The rest complains of cares to come. 

The flowers do fade, and wanton fields 
To wayward Winter reckoning yields : 
A honey tongue, a heart of gall, 
Is fancy's spring, but sorrow's fall. 

Thy gowns, thy shoes, thy beds of roses, 
Thy cap, thy kirtle, and thy posies, 


Soon break, soon wither soon forgotten, 
In folly ripe, in reason rotten. 

Thy belt of straw and ivy buds, 
Thy coral clasps and amber studs, 
All these in me no means can move 
To come to thee and be thy Love. 

But could youth last, and love still breed, 
Had joys no date, nor age no need, 
Then these delights my mind might move 
To live with thee and be thy Love." 

They were delicate verses, as far beyond the 
skill of us common bards as Sir Walter's magni- 
ficence was beyond our modesty. I think, if 
Apollo had given me so great a gift, I would 
have been content to forswear Courts for ever 
and seek a hermitage. 

Gloriana laughed loud. " A shrewd retort, 
i' faith ! Our Raleigh is but a laggard lover. 
Had he been a maid, there would have been 
broken hearts among the men. How now, 
Bess ? ' she said, turning to Mistress Throck- 
morton. " Does Sir Walter interpret aright the 
hearts of us virgins ? ' 

The maid looked up, blushing. " Nay, 
Madam, an it please you, I think he would 


make us too crafty. He forgets that love is 
blind and laughs at precepts." 

" Ay, wench, you are in the right of it. 'Tis 
the way of men. They call us coy and cold, 
but 'tis they who are the pedlars and hucksters 
of love. 'Tis we women alone who will aban- 
don all to the God and count no consequences." 

Sir Walter said nothing, but a subtle smile 
lurked in the corners of his mouth. He looked 
at the Queen, and she met his eyes squarely, but 
not for long. Soon she dropped her gaze, and, 
if I be not blind, there was no less than a blush 
on her august cheek. I think her mind had 
flown to my lord Leicester and others whom 
she had used ill. 

Presently, with many bowings and excuses, 
Master Askew appeared, the master of the 
pageant that was to be given at sundown, and 
begged for the attention of his players. The 
Queen shooed them away like a flock of geese. 
" Get you to your mumming, children," she 
cried ; " Sir Walter and I have matters of high 
statecraft to discourse on. Get you gone, I say." 

I would have departed with the others, but 


she motioned me imperiously to bide. " Wait 
with us, Sir Poet. I would have you stay, for 
Sir Walter and I are prone to quarrel, and need 
a peacemaker." 

I think she had detected my dislike of Raleigh, 
and desired me to remain that my presence might 
humble him. For as soon as we were alone she 
began to rate him furiously. There was that in 
our lady Gloriana's colour and mien which in 
her anger made her a very Fury of wrath. 

" So ho, my fair Sir Walter," she says, " you 
are the coy Sir Galahad in your verse, but I 
catch you forever making eyes at Bess Throck- 

Raleigh had arisen and was standing by a beech 
trunk, his cape of purple Cyprus velvet hanging 
low on his arm. 

" Nay, Madam," he said ; " you wrong me. I 
have remarked the lady that she is kind and fair, 
but I have eyes for no woman but the Queen of 

" Idle words," said Gloriana scornfully. " You 
swear your devotion, but a pretty wench breaks 
all your vows. 'Tis the way of mankind, from 


Kings and Emperors to the last lout of a country 
boy I have plucked out of Devon mud and made 
a man o'. Think you a mother loves to see her 
brood ensnared by the wiles of other females ? 
There never yet was woman who hated not in 
her heart her son's wife. Think you I am so 
free from the common emotions of my sex that 
I can suffer gladly to see my cavaliers, vowed for 
service to me alone, dancing like apes in the train 
of misses whose mothers but yesterday bound 
up their hair ? ' 

Raleigh had narrowed his eyes to slits, and was 
listening gravely. Had he smiled, I think his 
life would have paid for his folly, but he was 
ever one to know to a nicety the limits of daring. 
I stood apart, most grievously ill at ease, wish- 
ing that Her Majesty would bid me join the 

" Speak, you wooden doll ! " cried the Queen, 
her cheek flaming scarlet. 

"What shall I say, Madam?" Sir Walter 
answered in a low, soft voice. " Your Majesty's 
care of your servants is more tender than any 
mother's, yet we look not to you as a mother. 


You are the greatest of earthly Queens, yet we 
look not up to you as Queen. For your Majesty 
is above all things woman, and on woman a man 
must look squarely, neither up nor down. In 
the Kingdom of Hearts the worshipper and the 
worshipped are on level ground." 

There was a bold speech for you ! He spoke 
with such a gentle and grave assurance that the 
Queen's eyes dropped. 'Twas but for a moment. 
She fired again, and cried out in a voice harsh 
as a man's : " By Harry's soul, you Devon sprigs 
have more conceit than any Spaniard ! You are 
likewise heretics, and would proclaim the Queen 
of England mere woman, against the teaching of 
his Grace of Canterbury and his Right Reverence 
of London. Hoity toity ! Some of you will 
cool your heels in the Tower for this." But she 
laughed all the while, and tapped her little feet 
on the greensward, so that her needles and 
embroidery spilled on the lawn. 

Presently she looked up at Raleigh, archly as 
a maid in her teens looks on a lover. And this 
was Gloriana, who had left her teens those thirty 
years and more. I dare not say that she was 


old. There are women and men likewise of 
so great a zest for life that the body seems to 
keep pace with the spirit. Certain the Queen 
of England had the power at moments to look 
as young and fair as the ageless Queen of Love. 
'Twas when the spirit failed her that her cheeks 
pinched, her brow lined, and her eye grew dull. 

" Is there man bold enough," she asked in a 
honeyed voice, " to see behind the Queen to the 
woman ? You lack not courage, Sir Walter." 

'Twas a strange scene, and one I would have 
given a thousand crowns to be quit of. I think 
that both must have forgotten my presence. For 
if ever there was wooing in a tone, 'twas in the 
Queen's. The flush of youth sat on her cheek, 
and her eyes sparkled like a shallow in Spring. 
One delicate hand played with an Italian grey- 
hound crouched at her feet, the other tapped 
restlessly on her knees. She was looking at Sir 
Walter from under lowered lids. 

He knelt before her and kissed her hand. 

" I speak," he said, " what all men know. 
Your Majesty has long held the hearts of your 
cavaliers in the hollow of this little hand. To 


me you are neither Queen nor mother, but 
goddess, the lady of love and dawn. You have 
but one rival in my heart." 

" A rival ! ' The words were hissed between 
her teeth. The hand was snatched away and the 
eyelids opened, like a curtain drawn from a 
window to reveal without a storm of lightnings. 
But Sir Walter looked up unmoved. 

" Ay, Madam, and that rival is your own sur- 
passing greatness. For if you are lady to love, 
you are goddess to serve. 'Twas you who gave 
to us all our warrant of chivalry and sent us out on 
the King's Path. We cannot draw back even at 
your bidding. We have your commands to do 
this and do that for your realm of England ; and 
seeing that you are England, 'tis for you we labour. 
Think it not unkind that the love of your servants 
is merged in worship. 'Tis but the deeper for 
that, though it lack common expression." 

The Queen spoke hoarsely. " Your words are 
riddles, sir, like a priest's," she said. 

Raleigh stood up, so that he towered over her 
slim sitting form. 

" Not riddles but parables. There are some 


who are cast for so high a destiny that they must 
forswear homely joys. 'Tis not that they lack 
the plain affections, but that they possess the 
greater duties. Such is the Queen of England, 
who fights God's battles against an armed world. 
Such in a little way is her lowly servant, Walter 
Raleigh, who rights 'neath her banner. To 
him she is goddess, queen, and mistress, but, 
being Queen, her royalty demands service before 

Gloriana looked up at last. 

" Then for us poor Queens there is no love," 
she said, and her voice was thick as if she spoke 
through tears. 

" Nor for us poor knights," said he. " You 
are playing with the world's fates, Madam. For 
you there is the love of God and of your people 
and of the unborn generations that will arise in 
your England and call you blessed. But there is 
no room for common love. You are beyond 
man's reach, and you have set your knights on 
the same stony steeps of honour." 

Once again fell a silence. 

Then, without lifting her head, the Queen 


spoke. " I thank you, my lord. You have 
spoken honestly and bravely, as a true man 
should. I pray you to go now and bid my 
maids attend me." 

I noted that she called him " my lord." I 
think her mind was harking back to a day when 
she and my lord Leicester had spoken of the 
same matter. We of the Court had guessed often 
at the conclusion, but now I learnt the truth ; 
save that I think that the words now spoken by 
Raleigh had then been in the Queen's mouth. 

I spent the day in a deep perplexity ; and late 
in the afternoon sought out Sir Walter Raleigh 
when he was walking on the great terrace above 
the fish-ponds. I reminded him of the morning, 
and offered myself for the duello. 

" I place my life in your hand," said I. " God 
knows I have never loved you, but 1 am man 
enough to appraise your manhood. This morn 
I was the unwilling spectator at a scene which 
deeply concerns my mistress's honour and your 
own. 'Tis for you to say whether one who 
has seen what I have seen can be suffered to 


live. I take the chance of death at your 

I had looked for his acceptance, or perchance 
some cold and scornful rejoinder which would have 
goaded me to insult. Instead, he laid both hands 
on my shoulders, and there were tears in his eyes. 

" Kill you, Sir Gabriel ! By my faith, 'twould 
be to make the world too poor. You ask me to 
do murder upon one whose sole offence is that 
he has over nice a sense of honour. Fight you, 
forsooth ! I would liefer embrace you." 

He twined his arm in mine and drew me beyond 
the terrace into the hollows of the great park. 
When a man is strung up to a desperate resolve 
he is in no mood for pleasantry, and I would 
have stayed his going had I not seen that in his 
face which constrained me. 'Twas the face of 
one who had passed through a deeper perplexity 
than mine, and was still in the throes of it. The 
high light air, the pride, the brave deportment, 
had gone, and in their place left a much-vexed, 
deep-thinking man. The courtier was un- 

Down in a thicket of green bracken a herd of 


deer was feeding. The scene after twenty years 
stands as clear in my mind as if it had been 
yesterday. There came a faint noise of lutes 
and viols from the terrace, where the mummers 
were ordering the pageant. A country wench in 
a yellow gown was singing as she took the track 
to Berkhampstead. Up in the beechen shade 
cushats were crooning, and a low hum of bees 
filled the sweet-scented air. 'Twas a very Arcadia 
of summer loveliness, and there in the midst of 
it stood we two perplexed mortals, wrinkling our 
brows at Fate. 

Raleigh flung himself on the greensward and 
plucked idly at a flower. 

" I wish to Heaven I had a pipe of tobacco," 
he said. " The herb is a sovran cure for ill 
temper. You have heard and seen, Sir Gabriel. 
Perchance you now know somewhat of the trials 
of us poor favourites of Fortune. There lives 
no greater soul under God than this Queen of 
ours, but she is very woman, and her woman- 
hood is the burden which beats down the wings 
of her greatness. She has created such a Round 
Table as King Arthur never dreamed of, but she 


is reluctant to send out her knights on their 


I had nought to say, but could only watch the 
moody face of this splendid gentleman, who thus 
confessed his heart. 

" All the world envies me," he went on. " I 
have been honoured with Her Majesty's special 
favour. I have been given estates and high 
offices. My substance is great, and my degree and 
honour of the noblest. But what profits it, man ? 
I am still a captive, in fetters of fine silk and pure 
gold. By my faith, a tarry sailor in a Bristol 
barque has more of a man's task than mine." 

" You have the ordering of high places of 
state," I ventured. 

" Places of state ! ' he laughed. " Ay, old 
Burghley comes with his ferret face and begs my 
consideration. But what of that ? I am as little 
of a statesman as Her Majesty's favourite lady. I 
open the way to her presence. Perchance my 
advice is asked, but my words weigh nothing. 
The Queen loves my blunt speech, but she 
hearkens only to her tame fox, and to herself." 

He got to his feet and strode up and down. 


" Mark you, Sir Gabriel, I have but the one 
passion, to make this good England the sun 
of all the world. I see her enemies clustering 
around as thick as locusts. I see such a breed 
of men within our shores as would, if unchained, 
sweep land and sea clear of our ill-wishers. I 
see a great-hearted and most wise lady, who loves 
her people well, but, womanlike, will tarry, and 
in her tenderness to youth will clip its wings. 
She suffers me to send my expeditions to the 
Indies, but laughs at them as if they were a 
merry whim. For myself, she forbids me to 
leave these shores, and well I know that where 
no leader is there will be no glory. I strut 
peacock-like about the Court, petted, flattered, 
envied ; but before God I would rather have a 
tall ship and a Devon crew, and be risking my 
all on a desperate enterprise. A Court is nothing 
but a green-sickness for a man's spirit." 

Then he approached me and laid his hands 
again on my shoulders. 

" Pardon me, fair friend, if I spoke slightingly 
of that life to which you are vowed. There are 
honest men whose light shines best in such a 


scene of leisure and peace. Would that Edmund 
Spenser would join you in this world of gardens 
and indite his divine measures in your good 
company ! But for me, I am of another fibre. 
A brown moor-cock is ill at ease among the doves 
and peacocks of a pleasaunce. I have no gift 
for Courts. I like little their soft beds, and rich 
dress and dainty foods. I would rather the smell 
of salt than the scent of musk. Nay, I had rather 
the sour Irish mosses than this Arcady. For I 
am a man who must be up and doing or he stifles. 
I know the gifts God has given me. I can lead 
rough fellows up to the cannon's mouth ; and I 
think I have a native genius for seacraft. I will 
search you out the riches of strange lands, for the 
love of them burns in me. But for this philander- 
ing and dancing and versifying, my soul loathes it ! 
Good my friend, I speak to you honestly as to 
a true man. Some day the silken cords will be 
cut, and the world will mark the fall of Raleigh. 
But haply Raleigh will be gone on a better 

His voice stopped suddenly, and the grave 
passion vanished from his face. In its stead came 

(1,562) 6 


the look of railing gallantry which was his Court 
manner. I glanced behind and saw the cause. 

A very pretty lady came tripping over the 

" Sweet sirs," she lisped, " I am bidden fetch 
you. Master Askew hath need of you. The 
Masque begins in another hour, and the advice 
of Sir Gabriel is sought on certain high matters. 
Master Askew would consult, too, with Sir 
Walter touching his raiment. It is thought the 
white taffeta sown with black pearls would be 
fitting garb for the King of the Shades. . . 

Chapter IV. 

" O watchman, leaning from the mast, 

What of the night ? The shadows flee, 
The stars grow pale, the storm is past, 

A blood-red sunrise stains the sea. 
At length, at length, O desperate wills, 

Luck takes the tiller and foul tides turn ; 
Superb amid majestic hills 

The domes of Eldorado burn." 

The Ship of Fools. 

. -- 


: ;'f SNapl 



''--- ' 

Chapter IV. 


. . . TV/TY head was buzzing like a spinning- 
top, and it seemed that scalding water 
fell on me so that I could scarce draw breath. 
Also there was an orange-tawny bird, with a blue 
beak and a face like the parson of Budleigh, that 
kept cocking a wicked eye on me and flapping 
his wings. I besought Amias Thyn to kill the 
fowl, but he answered that 'twas only a fancy 
of my fever. Upon that I up and fetched Amias 
a blow on the face, and myself the next moment 
toppled to the earth. For certain I was very 
near my end. The poison from the arrow-head 
had wrought desperately in my blood, and I was 
fallen into the last fever of the brain. 

* Nathan Stubbs, captain of the ship Good Venture, told this tale to Master 
Samuel Purchas, who omitted it for obvious reasons from his famous Pilgrimes. 
Nathan's narrative, however, exists in MS. in a very difficult handwriting, and 
a copy is in the library of an Oxford college. 


I was now five months out of England, weary 
months in truth for body and soul. Since the 
February morn when we sailed from Plymouth, 
we had traversed many thousand leagues of ocean, 
made capture of ships, and laid hands on the new- 
built Spanish city of Saint Joseph in the isle of 
Trinidad. For guide we had Captain Jacob 
Whiddon, an old voyager in these parts, and for 
fellow - adventurers young bloods from every 
manor in the West, and likewise some tough and 
salted sea-captains to correct the yeast of youth. 
Our Admiral was that famous knight Walter 
Raleigh, the Captain of Her Majesty's Guard, 
and the Lieutenant-General of the County of 
Cornwall. Aforetime I had known this Sir 
Walter, when he was the glory and particular 
star of the Court. He was used to come among 
us of the sea at every port in the West, and would 
sit for hours discussing of our travels. I have 
seen him at Falmouth and Plymouth, in rich 
robes and chains of gold, seated hard by a tarry 
sailorman, as if he had never trod softer floors 
than a ship's deck. Hence he was vehemently 
beloved by all seafarers, but he had ever a moody 


brow and a dark eye, save when he glowed at 
some tale of adventure. We had heard how he 
had fallen into disgrace with the Queen, and was 
enclosed for long in the Tower of London, and 
then banished to his country manor. When the 
word went round that he was equipping a fleet 
for a venture to the Indies, there was no man 
from Southampton to Bristol but burned to sail 
with him. I mind well how he came down to 
Plymouth Quay to join his ships, with so gay 
a step and light an eye you would have thought 
him no more than boy. When the crews cheered 
him from the bulwarks, he waved his hat and 
smiled like a man who has at last come home. 

But to my tale. From Trinidad we set out in 
a flotilla, for our vessels could not ascend the 
river Orinoko, because of the shoals and currents. 
The whole company of us had to ship in three 
wherries and a barge. As for the Admiral, he 
had an old gallego boat cut down so that she 
drew but five feet of water, fitted her with banks 
of oars, and embarked in her with sixty officers 
and gentlemen-volunteers. After that I mind 
little save the sickness that racked us in the open 


sea ere we made the mouth of the river, and the 
perilous water-ways we laboured through there- 
after. There was no room to land, for the woods 
came down to the edge as thick as furze and 
reached evil claws into the water. The air was 
full of fever, and the heat of the sun like gusts 
from a baker's oven. We were for ever ground- 
ing in shallows, and to shove off had to wade 
deep in the stream, in mortal fear of the noisome 
toothed serpents called Lagartos that dwell in 
such rivers. From ill feeding and unchanged 
raiment we became foul and offensive alike to our 
fellows and ourselves ; and the incessant toil of 
rowing, in which gentle and simple shared alike, 
came near to driving us mad. But through it all 
the Admiral abated nothing of his courage and 
sweet temper. He would urge us on with a 
cheerful word and a merry quip, and the weakest 
would bend stoutly to the oars if he saw Sir 
Walter near him. 

Presently we came out of the narrows to the 
main stream of the Orinoko, and found the 
noblest country mine eyes had ever beheld. 
'Twas a great park, full of green grass and high 


groves of trees and a multitude of fruits. The 
deer flocked to the water's edge as if they had 
been used to a keeper's call. Now 'twas possible 
to land, and eat and sleep on solid ground. A 
merry wind sprang up behind us and lessened 
the toil of rowing, and, having abundant food 
and good knowledge of the way, our hearts were 
wondrously uplifted. On the seventh day we 
saw afar off toward the West a blue line of 
mountains and rejoiced, for we knew them for 
the husk of El Dorado. 

After a fortnight's passage, during which we 
saw many curious things, we came to Morequito, 
the port of the kingdom of Aromaia, and found 
there the King Topiawari, whose nephew had 
been foully slain by the Spaniard. He welcomed 
us graciously, and gave us bread and wine and all 
manner of flesh and fowl ; likewise a quantity 
of pine-apples, the princess of all fruits, which 
purgeth the fever from a man's blood. As the 
King led us about his country we remarked the 
rocks streaked with gold, which was no Mar- 
quesite, such as appears in other parts of the 
Indies, but the true " Mother of Gold " that 


is the guide to rich metal below the soil. Also 
we found a stone like a sapphire, and the people 
had great wealth of spleen-stones, or, as some 
name them, emeralds. But especially the King 
Topiawari told the Admiral of the City of 
Manoa, where the Incas rule, which lieth many 
leagues west by south in the high hills. All 
round the base of the mountain dwelleth a fierce 
tribe, by name the Epimureans, who are in league 
with the Inca and keep his marches. They war 
with the other Indian peoples, and the King was 
earnest with us to join him in a march against 
them. But the Admiral considered that we had 
too few men for such a venture, and that the 
floods of the river which were now beginning 
made it impolitic to penetrate further that year 
in the direction of Manoa. He therefore re- 
solved to return, being satisfied of the great riches 
of the country and the friendly disposition of the 
people to our mistress the Queen of England. 
The Indians marvelled at our clemency and justice, 
for by the Admiral's orders no man might take 
so much as a potato plant from one of the poor 
people without making him satisfaction. 


'Twas in the last days of June that my troubles 
began. The Admiral sent for me and told me 
his purpose of return. He said that he desired 
more knowledge about the golden parts of Guiana, 
and the civil towns and apparelled people of the 
Incas, and he desired this knowledge from English 
eyes and lips. There was an old Cacique, dwell- 
ing in the upper vales of the Caroni, a river of 
Aromaia, whose town was but two days' march 
from the borders of the Epimureans. He was 
willing to guide me to the borders, if haply from 
some hill-top I might get sight of the great lake 
on which stands the City of Manoa. Then he 
would lead me back by a shorter path, so that I 
might join the flotilla on its homeward journey. 
" You will take with you Amias Thyn," said Sir 
Walter, " for I can spare no more English. And 
God be with you, Nathan, for I know you a 
man of discretion and good heart." 

By this time I was somewhat restored in health, 
and my eagerness for the errand had almost made 
me leap with joy. We departed on a fine sunshine 
morning, and journeyed in boats as far as the flow 
of the Caroni allowed. But since the flood-time 


was beginning the rowers could scarcely win a 
stone's throw in an hour, so we put to land, and 
travelled on foot beyond the falls of the river, 
which are a dozen in number and each as high as 
a church tower. Thereafter we reached a country 
of short grass and pressed on easily, save that 
Amias Thyn, who was no footman, lagged some- 
what behind. By the second evening we had 
come to the town of the Cacique, and were civilly 
lodged in a hut of wood. That night the people 
of the place brought us pine-apple wine in stone 
jars, and so caroused with us that Amias was like 
to have perished of colic. 

The next morn we set out with the Cacique 
and two Indian guides into the woods which 
stretched to the country of the Epimureans. 
From the start I knew that the venture was to be 
ill-fated, for I saw three crows on a single branch, 
and Amias, being giddy from the night's frolic, 
shot at one with his musket. The Cacique 
warned us that the woods were full of evil men, 
who are of a different race from the Indians and 
are called, I think, Aroras. They have squat 
bodies and sleek black hair, and live on human 


flesh. Also they shoot poisoned arrows, of which 
only the Indian soothsayers know the cure. But, 
said he, his tribe was at peace with the Aroras, 
and if we went discreetly and fast we might win 
through without trouble. 

All went well till the afternoon of the next day, 
when we seemed to be near the edge of the trees, 
for in the gaps we could see peaks of mountains. 
We had halted for food, when there came a cry 
from the guide who led us and a rustling in the 
thicket. Presently I saw a dark face among the 
leaves, and ere I knew something pierced my 
shoulder. I fired my musket at the invisible foe, 
and Amias did the like ; and the next second all 
was quiet save for the mutterings of the Indians. 
But when the Cacique saw my wound he set up 
a great lamentation, and cried out that I had taken 
a deadly poison. A faintness fell on me, and in a 
dream I suffered him to cut away the flesh and 
burn the wound with powder. Then I was 
dragged between the Indians at a great pace 
through the trees until we came to the edge of a 
rocky upland. 

That Cacique was the best Christian it has 


ever been my lot to meet. He bade his men 
make a rough hut for me, in which I lay tortured 
with pain and yet so weak that I could scarce 
move to ease my anguish. He gave me medicine, 
but it seemed that he had not the knowledge of 
the royal cure. For he bade Amias watch me 
close to prevent me doing a mischief in my mad- 
ness, and set off to find an Indian soothsayer who 
should heal my wound. All this Amias told me 
later. . . . 

So I come to where my tale began, as I lay 
raving in the hut on the border of the Epimureans. 
After I smote Amias I lost all knowledge of the 
world. In such state I lay for hours, and then 
about the first light my mind cleared. The 
torture had gone, my wits had returned, but 
I felt the life ebbing in my members. I knew 
that death was near, and strove to turn my mind 
to thoughts of heaven. But all I could see was 
the blessed orange-tawny bird with the face of 
the parson of Budleigh. 

I noted Amias sunk in sleep on the ground, 
as weary as a hound after the chase. I wanted 
to laugh at the oddity of his red face burrowed 


into the leaves. Then the screen of boughs 
was lifted and I saw the Cacique bending over 
me, and with him another. That other was an 
old man with a thin white beard and a high 
nose ; and I thought him a white heron come to 
fight the terrible orange-tawny fowl. 

I know not what he did to me, but six hours 
later I awoke from deep slumber with the pain 
gone and my health restored, save for a singing 
in my head like the fall of a weir. There was 
Amias smoking a pipe, and the Cacique and the 
old soothsayer playing a game on a thing like a 

" Ho, there ! " I cried in a thin voice. " God 
has raised me up, and His name be praised ! We 
have no time to tarry if I am to join the Admiral. 
We must be up and off this very day." 

The priest came to my side. He was a lean 
old man, the gloom of his complexion grown by 
age to a fine ivory. 

" What came you out for to seek ? ' he asks, 
like the Scriptures. 

" I am bidden by the Admiral to find the hill 
in the land of the Epimureans from which a 


man may see the City of Manoa." I spoke in 
Spanish to the Cacique, who turned my words 
into the Indian tongue. 

The old man shook his head. " I have heard 
of you English as a great people of the East, 
who worship the one God and are ruled by 
a Virgin. You do justly by all men, and rob 
not like those of Spain. But why seek you 
Manoa ? " 

" Why ? ' I cried. " Because of the tales 
of it. 'Tis a mystery that fires our blood. I 
want to see the princes who smear their bodies 
with gum and roll in gold dust, and the city so 
great that if a man enters one afternoon 'tis the 
evening of the next day ere he comes to the 
King's Palace. I would see the golden battle- 
ments, and the golden birds that sing by magic, 
and the golden flowers that deck the islands. 
I mind of a lame Spaniard in Cartagena who 
had a pouch full of gold beads that he told me 
were the pebbles of the lake shore." 

" And if you win there, you English, what 
next ? " says the priest. 

" For us common folk there will be gold," 


said I. " I know not the mind of my Admiral, 
but 'tis rumoured that he would ally our kingdom 
with the Grand Inca, and make so strong a band 
against the Spaniard as to drive him forth of 
Tierra Firme." 

The priest spoke in Indian to the Cacique. 
Then he looked first at me and then at Amias 
as if he would search our souls. 

" My brother has sworn to lead you to the 
Hill of Vision," he said. " And it is just that 
he should keep troth. But I warn you that ill 
may come of it. The Golden City is strong 
guarded by the spells of dead kings. I cannot 
break them. No stranger from the East will 
fare better." 

I answered that I feared no charm, being 
strong in the Christian faith ; but he paid little 
heed to my words. 

" You are feeble," he said, " and 'tis a hard 
journey. I have brought you back from the 
edge of death. Will you trust me to fortify you 
for travel ? ' 

The Cacique was earnest with me to swallow 
the priest's drug ; for without this, he said, we 


should both faint by the way. From a wallet 
he took some little packets and mingled two 
potions each, for me and Amias. The first was 
bitter as wormwood and set my ears drumming 
so that I feared deafness. The second put me 
into a great ease and contentment, so that I could 
have sung aloud for joy. Amias, who was ever 
a fool, did indeed sing a tavern ditty about Poll 
and Sue, which he fitted to a melancholious 
psalm tune. 

A little later we started, while it was still 
forenoon, and travelled up the rocky slope of 
the hills. The priest and I rode on mules which 
he had brought, while Amias and the Cacique 
went on foot. Amias was for ordinary a miser- 
able footman, but the potion he had drunk so 
filled him with eagerness that he outstepped the 
mules. We spoke little, being deep sunk in 
peace. All I knew was that we mounted ever 
higher, till we saw the land behind us lie flat to 
the Orinoko, and in front and on either hand 
great swellings of mountain. 

I mind the exceeding gladness I felt. 'Twas 
like boyhood returned, with no sin to burden the 


conscience and no failure to cloud the spirit. 
Whether 'twas the drug or the high air I know 
not, but I seemed to be out of the body. We 
wound up a track that led to a pass in the hills, 
and in the nick of it the sun was setting like an 
eye of fire. I made certain that beyond that 
pass lay Manoa : indeed the sky had a shimmer 
of light as if it had caught the reflection from 
acres of gold ; and I cried on the others to 
hasten, that we might win up by nightfall. But 
the pass was longer than I had judged, and at 
the darkness we were forced to camp some way 
short of the summit. 

I ate little food, and soon fell asleep in deep 
weariness. All night long I dreamed of angels 
and heavenly mansions, so delectable a dream 
that I could have wept at the wakening. 'Twas 
a clear dawn, and no man spoke as we saddled 
the mules and took our way toward the ridge of 
the mountains. 

Many times in my life I have been a-quiver 
with eagerness, so that my knees loosened under 
me, and my heart smote on my ribs. I have felt 
thus in a sea-fight before the shots began, and 

(1,562) 7 


very notably when I waited on Nell Ottaway's 
answer to the declaration of my love. But never 
in love or war have I felt so shattering a tremor. 
Even the muddy soul of Amias Thyn was kindled 
to expectation. Every step, I thought, would 
bring me the promised sight, but a ridge inter- 
vened, and still another. At last, when I did 
not look for it, we had turned a corner and stood 
on a ledge gazing on a new country. 

I fell off my mule, and with Amias viewed 
the prospect on my knees, calling on God to 
be merciful to sinful men. For this was what 
I saw . . . 

Below me the cliffs fell sheer for a mile or 
so to a plain of greenest grass where herds of 
white cattle grazed. There was a brimming 
river winding through the meadows, as I have 
seen the Thames wind in the fields by Richmond. 
Beyond these pastures were orchards, where it 
seemed to me I could see golden fruit hang as 
thick as haws on a whitethorn. And beyond 
the orchards was a lake, so long that to left and 
right its blue waters were lost in haze. On this 
lake I saw the white sails of many craft, and on 


its multitude of isles white towers and flowery 

But beyond the lake was the sight that bank- 
rupted me of breath and sent Amias to his 
prayers. For there stood a city so great and 
noble that it seemed as if no mortal could have 
raised it. 'Twas all of shimmering white like 
sea-foam, but the roofs were of naked gold. I 
saw the streets run in pleasant lines to a great 
palace set on a low hill, which was assuredly the 
jewel of so fair a casket. Its golden dome was 
like a mirror, in which the clouds showed 
themselves and the sun was re-born. 

Yet 'twas not the riches and magnificence of 
Manoa that melted my heart : 'twas its air of 
happy peace. From my hill -top I could see 
no inhabitants, though a faint hum of life rose 
to my ears. But a kind of glory brooded there 
such as the Blessed may hope for in Paradise. 
I had forgotten about gold and fame, for the 
thing seemed too precious to pollute with mortal 
thoughts. 'Twas a realm so far more lovely 
and desirable than the greatest empire that 
I could scarce believe it to be of this world, 



As for Amias he did nothing but weep and 

" You see Manoa, my son," said the priests 
voice. " If you would see your friends again, 
'tis time to depart." 

At this I fell into despair. I could not leave 
so noble a vision. I besought him to show me 
the entrance, though it should cost me years of 
travel. Nay, I would gladly have starved slowly 
on that ledge of rock so that I could have feasted 
my eyes on the City. 

" There is no entrance for you," he said. 
" The folk of the City are wise, and would keep 
free from the wars and sorrows of the world. 
They have guarded their land with spells that no 
man can break save with their good will. I have 
brought you to the sight of it, because I have 
heard of the honour of your people. Think 
well of it, my son ; 'tis not fitting to mar so fair 
a thing for any lust of treasure. Seek your gold 
mines elsewhere, for you cannot reach the pure 
gold of the City of the Sun." 

I asked if no man had entered the place. 

" Once," said he, " a man found the key after 


years of toil, but it profited him nothing. He 
entered the City and saw its glories, but his soul 
was earthy and the sight destroyed his wits. He 
was led forth, and travelled back to the Spanish 
towns, but he babbled wild things and died in a 
frenzy. No man believed his tale. . . . But 
see. The Gods warn us. If we would save our 
lives, we must depart." 

A black thundercloud was gathering round the 
heights, and in another minute the storm burst, 
almost sweeping us from our ledge. We hastened 
to leave, the regret in my soul so choking me 
that I had no speech, nor any strength to stay. 
But as we went I noted one marvel. For, 
whereas the storm was dark around us to the 
edge of the cliff, beyond 'twas clear sunlight. 
Through the driving sleet I had one last glimpse 
of the shining towers of Manoa the Golden . . . 

Seven days later, on the bank of the Orinoko, 
we met with the Admiral's flotilla. Seven weary 
days they proved, so that Amias and I were but 
hollow-eyed scarecrows when out of the swamps 
we hailed the first boats. We had both fallen 


into a fever, partly from toil and partly from the 
regret and wonder of our minds. Indeed 'twas 
little I cared what befell me. Ravening beasts 
and savage men were as nothing compared with 
the ache of loss in my heart. 

Sir Walter had me aboard the gallego, and in 
presence of his officers and volunteers questioned 
me on our adventure. I begged that I might 
tell them first to his private ear ; and seeing the 
earnestness of my demeanour and the marks of 
labour I bore on me, he granted my request. So 
that evening, when we had landed on an isle 
to pass the night, he took me apart into a woody 
place and asked for my tale. 

I told him as well as I could of my wound in 
the forest, of its cure, and the journey to the gap 
of the hills. Then I spoke of Manoa so far as 
my poor words could envisage such a marvel. 
The Admiral heard me with eager eyes. 

" You saw it, my brave Nathan ? But that 
is what no Spaniard these fifty years hath done ! " 

" Ay, but I saw it from a mountain-top, and 
I saw no way to enter." 

" Cliffs can be scaled," said he ; " and if there 


be another ingress, it will be found. The great 
matter is that the City is there, and can be 
viewed in two days' march into the land of the 
Epimureans. It needs but a man skilled in 
travel to chart the valley, and discover where the 
river you speak of leaves it. What the Spaniard 
Martinez could do is not beyond the range of 

Then he fell to questioning me about small 
particulars, being very curious about the islands 
in the lake and the great white palace or temple 
which commanded the City. He wrote down 
in a book what I had to tell him, and made a 
chart of the place and the way thereto. He was 
warm in his commendation. " When we return," 
he says, "you shall lead the advance, Nathan. As 
you were the first to see the City, so you shall 
be the first of the English to tread its streets." 

" Your pardon, sir," said I, " but these same 
streets I will never tread." 

And when he asked my meaning, I up and 
spoke what was in my heart. 

" I am a man of blood and guile," I said, 
" whose life has been spent in pursuits the most 


conducing to these faults. But all the while I 
have a proper notion of virtue, and I would not 
sin against God's plain command. That City, 
I take it, is as Eden before our father Adam 
sinned. I know not whether the folk who dwell 
in it be Christians after our meaning ; but of 
this I am sure, that in very truth they worship 
God. That valley is like Paradise for peace. 
The sight of it clouds the senses and makes the 
heart sore as a man's heart is sore for the home 
of his childhood. For us men of blood to enter 
the place would be great sin. I will have no 
part in violating so holy a shrine. We go to 
offer an alliance to the Grand Inca. But what 
need has he of an alliance when God's cherubim 
are on his side ? If we fought and won, the gold 
and jewels would be our plunder. And the City 
would be the quarry of every ruffian from the 
four corners of earth. 'Twould be the offence 
against the Holy Ghost, and, sinful man though 
I be, I will have no hand in it." 

The Admiral watched me curiously, and nar- 
rowed his eyes as if in thought. 

" You say the priest gave you a drug to heal 


your wound. May it not be that the City you 
saw was a dream ? " 

" Nay, it could not be," said I. " There is 
no drug would set a man shivering on a rock 
with a storm behind him and the New Jerusalem 
at his feet." 

"Then, Nathan, 'tis like the lost Atlantis," 
he said musingly. "'Tis a City not of Time 
but of Eternity." 

He opened his doublet and showed a jewel of 
gold which hung by a cord around his neck.* 
" That," said he, " is the badge of my quest for 
the Golden City. He who gave it me sought 
for it all his days, and, like you, saw it but from 
a hill-top. I cannot draw back from the search. 
But I think that when I go I will go alone." 

After that we spoke no more of the business. 
I kept my own counsel, and the Admiral gave 
out to the others that I had found a certain way 
to Manoa, but had been held back from going 
further by shortness of time and his express 
commands. Amias Thyn, to be sure, told mar- 

* See Chapter I. 


vellous tales to his comrades, but he was so 
confused in his speech that he had no credence. 
Indeed the rumour spread that he had never 
ventured beyond the Indian town, but had lain 
there for a fortnight incontinently drunk. . . . 

Chapter V. 

" Why, truly, your great enemy is the Spaniard. He is a natural enemy 
... by reason of the enmity that is in him against whatsoever is of God. . . . 
And the Spaniard is not only our enemy accidentally, but he is providentially 
so ; God having in His wisdom disposed it to be, when we made a break with 
the Spanish nation long ago." 

Oliver Crom-welfs speech to his Second Parliament, September 17, 1659. 




T . 

Chapter V. 



. . . T HAVE seen Sir Walter Raleigh but the 
two times in my life, and this was the 
way of them . . . 

One May morning in the year 1596 I rode 
into the yard of the Bell Inn at Shorne in 
Kent, and bade the potman bring me a tankard 
of small ale, for I had broken my fast early. 
'Twas a chill morning, with flying showers of 
rain, and my horse was mired to the saddle girths. 
Presently there entered a seaman with a scarlet 
face, as if he had run fast and far, and on his 
heels a gentleman, all muddied with travel. The 
seaman shouted to the host to know if any 

* The story of Sir Adam Bontier, a gentleman adventurer with the fleet of 
Essex. Sir Adam, being taken prisoner later by the Spaniards at Cartagena, 
told the tale to a Dominican friar, Jordanus, who left the record in monkish 
Latin in his monastery of Candelaria in Teneriffe. It was deciphered the 
other day by a Spanish geographer, and I have freely adapted it. 


mariners had been to the tavern that morn ; and 
being told no, set off again at a run for the 
next alehouse. I could not but observe the 
gentleman, a tall man of noble carriage and a 
dress too rich for our country byways. He bade 
the seaman complete his tale of the taverns and 
return to him with a report, while he sate himself 
on a bench and, like me, called for ale. He 
had an air of weariness and perturbation, but his 
eyes were masterful and his mouth had a hint of 
humour. Indeed, as he sate himself on the 
bench and watched his lieutenant trotting out of 
the yard, he laughed outright. 

" Your servant, sir," I said. " You are early 

He looked at me very pleasantly. " My 
friend," said he, " I know not your name, but if 
you have any knowledge of the sea, you will 
grant that a man must rise early to outwit the 
absconding mariner." 

" Why, for the matter of that," I answered, 
" I have had some small trouble of my own in 
the same quarter. I had much to do with the 
manning of certain ships against King Philip's 


Armada, and that was a business to whiten a 
man's hair." 

He nodded approvingly. " Since you have 
served your Queen, you will have a fellow-feeling 
for the trials of a campaigner. Whew ! I have 
the thirst of all the Guianas." 

" You are with the fleet at Gravesend ? ' I 

" For my sins," said he, " I am by Her Majesty's 
command the Rear-Admiral of Her Majesty's 
Spanish Fleet." 

I rose, doffed my hat, and bowed low. For I 
knew that I was in the presence of Sir Walter 
Raleigh. He nodded and smiled. 

" I say ' for my sins,' for my rear-guard should 
have been at sea a week ago. Instead of which 
my ships rot in the Thames, and I spend my 
days hunting mariners through miry lanes. A 
thing to try hard a man's Christianity ! But 
what do you here?" he asked. 

I told my name and designation, adding that I 
had fought somewhat in Europe, and was but 
three months returned from campaigning in the 
Low Countries with Sir Francis Vere, 


" You would rest at home," and his eyebrows 
ran upward, " while the Spaniard holds Calais ? " 

" Nay, sir," I cried. " I do but wait on my 
chance. I am ripe for another venture, but I am 
delayed and distracted by those who order affairs. 
I have offered my services a dozen times, but I am 
but a humble squire and can get no satisfaction." 

He reached out a hand for mine. 

" You shall fight with us, good sir. Never 
fear. And I have that to tell you which will set 
an edge on your valour. ... His God hath 
called for Sir Francis Drake." 

The news took the breath from me. We 
were hourly waiting to hear that that grim sea- 
captain had sacked Panama and laid hands on all 
the Isthmus. I could only look with awe at 
Sir Walter's heavy countenance, and stammer 
" Where ? " and " When ? " 

" A post reached me this morn from the 
Queen herself. He lies far off in Porto Bello 
beneath some great wave. 'Tis all over now 
with the English expedition. It must return 
leaderless, and we must strike at the Spaniard 
elsewhere. But, mark you, there is no news on 


earth will so put heart into Rome and Spain. 
They feared Frankie as if he were the devil. 
Without him they will deem us no better than 
masterless men. 'Tis to disperse that dream that 
you and I go forth, Sir Adam." 

I was so eager that I could scarce muster 
words. " You will take me with you, sir ? " I said. 

He wrinkled his brows in thought. " Nay, 
not with me. We are all seamen, and our task 
will be plain seacraft. You are soldier-bred, and 
your place is with the land force under my lord 
Essex. I will give you a letter to my lord, who 
will receive you gladly, for he loves me, and has 
an eye for a proper young man. The Lord 
High Admiral is by this time at Plymouth, and 
with him my fellow in the rear-guard, Lord 
Thomas Howard. My lord Essex joins them 
there. And when I have writ a letter, 'tis for 
you to post thither without loss of an hour. 
With a fair wind they may sail any day, and 
suffer me to follow when I have gotten in my 

The lieutenant entered, redder than before, but 
with a gleam of satisfaction in his fiery eye. 


" I have laid hands on two, sir," he cried, 
" and the guard has 'em on the road to the water. 
There is tidings that five more of 'em lie drunk 
at Saxeleigh." 

Sir Walter had written me a letter, using his 
own tablets, and ink from a horn fetched by the 
host of the tavern. He sealed it with his signet 
ring, and gave it into my hands. 

" Now, Sir Adam, ride ride for your life ! 
We shall meet in a week or more." 

" Where ? " I asked, for I knew nought of the 
destination of the fleet. 

" That is a secret," he said, laughing, " but I 
will give you a clue. We follow in the footsteps 
of Sir Francis Drake." 

Then I knew that 'twas against Cadiz we 
sailed. I was confirmed by his crying after me, 
" Farewell, Septimi, Gadis aditure mecum." 

This was the way of my second meeting. 

About noon of Sunday, the 2oth of June, I 
was with my lord Essex in his ship the Due 
Repulse in the squadron of which my former 
General, Sir Francis Vere, was Vice-Admiral. 
A great dispute had arisen among the Admirals 


as to the attack upon the galleons in the inner 
harbour of Cadiz, the Lord High Admiral main- 
taining that 'twas needful first to silence the 
shore forts with a land attack, while my lord 
Essex held that, with a fine stern breeze blowing, 
'twas our business to proceed forthwith against 
the ships. There was a great sea rolling in from 
the outer ocean, and we tossed uneasily at anchor 
while we endeavoured to land our footmen on 
a rocky beach where the surf broke heavily. 
Already the long-boat of Sir Francis Vere's 
Rainbow had been swamped, and fifteen stout 
fellows drowned. My lord Essex paced the 
deck, tugging at his beard, very fretful at the 
delay and the plan of which he little approved. 
Presently, as I stood near him, we saw in the 
hollow of the waves a cock-boat, rowed by two 
seamen, with a gentleman aboard her. 

" What madman takes the water in that nut- 
shell? " I asked, when my lord gave a cry of joy 
and ran to the bulwarks. 

Then I saw that the madman was no less than 
Sir Walter Raleigh, the Vice-Admiral, who had 
gone to the inshore station the night before in 

(1,562) 8 


his ship, the Warspite. He greeted my lord with 
a wave of his hat, and the next moment we had 
thrown him a rope, and he had clambered on 
deck as lightly as a squirrel, while the cock-boat 
was made fast below. 

" What folly is to the fore, my lord ? " he 
cried. " You are landing men on an iron coast, 
while God has sent us a fresh wind to bear down 
the galleons. They lie packed like pilchards in 
the inner harbour, hungering for shot. The four 
Apostles are there, and with two of them, the 
Philip and the Andrew^ I have a score to settle 
for Dick Grenville's sake. Likewise, there is the 
Flota of the Indies, and the carracks of New 
Mexico. What tarry we for ? ' 

My lord said moodily that 'twas the decision 
of the Lord High Admiral and the Council. 

" Then I go to reverse the decision," said he, 
and moved to the bulwarks. 

"Stop, Sir Walter," my lord cried. " Tis 
not fitting to discuss what the Council has 

" Was it your will, my lord ? ' asked Sir 
Walter. " No. And judging by the wind He 


hath sent, 'tis no more the will of God. I go to 
talk with the Lord High Admiral." 

My lord would have stayed him, but he was 
gone. He swung himself into the cock-boat, 
and the next minute was hid in the trough of the 
great green billows. My lord turned to me. 
" There goes a gallant folly. If he be not 
swamped, he will get the rough side of my lord 
Howard, and there will be but the more con- 
fusion. A pest upon a war where all are 
generals ! ' And he took again to his striding 
upon the poop, but gave orders that for a little 
the landing should cease. 

In about an hour there was a cry from the 
watchman in the bows, and we perceived the 
cock-boat returning. The tide was with it, and 
'twas so engulfed in water that I looked every 
minute to see it founder. 

" 'Tis good news," I cried. " See how Sir 
Walter waves his hand." 

We lay over the edge while the boat neared, 
and there was no mistaking the air of the Admi- 
ral. He was steering, not for us, but for his own 
squadron, which lay further within the harbour. 


But he passed us at some fifty paces, and I could 
remark the exultation in his face. He was as 
soiled and draggled with the sea as any mortal 
I have ever seen. 

He looked up at us, and, as he passed, cried but 
the one word in Spanish " Entramos." Upon 
which my lord Essex, transported with delight, 
cut a step on the deck, and, taking his plumed 
hat from his head, flung it into the sea in the 
direction of the inner harbour. "Glory to God ! ' 
he cried ; " the tide will carry my hat to the 
galleons and give them my challenge." 

By the time we had re-shipped the men from 
the shore 'twas close on evening, and, though 
my lord would have pressed on forthwith, like 
Francis Drake, in the darkness, the others were 
for waiting till daylight. Sir Walter came 
aboard to sup with my lord, and a council of 
war was held in the cabin of the Rainbow. I 
learned later that after much wrangling Sir 
Walter was appointed to lead the van with seven 
ships of battle his own Warspite^ my lord's Rain- 
bow, the Mary Rose, the Lion, the Siviftsure, the 


Dreadnought ', and the Nonpareil. As these were 
the lighter vessels, they were deemed fittest to 
come to grips with the galleons in the shallow 
water, while my lord Essex and the Lord 
Admiral commanded the greater ships of the 
main fleet. 

We started at the first peep of day, Sir Walter 
having the lead of us. I remember very plain 
how merrily he sailed under the very walls of 
the City, while the forts battered him, and 
the galleys ranged alongside shot off all their 
pieces. He disdained to answer them, save that 
at each cannonade he had his trumpets sound 
a blare. But the others of our fleet were less 
scornful, and the galleys were driven to their 
oars so that they might escape into the straits 
of the inner harbour to find shelter among the 
great galleons. 

Presently he was within reach of the S. Philip^ 
and straightway dropped his anchor. The Lord 
Admiral had ordered him not to lie alongside, 
but to wait for fly-boats before he boarded. 
There was too little depth of water to deploy 
into line, and we had perforce to wait for the 


flood-tide, being anchored in the shape of a great 
wedge, of which Sir Walter's ship was the point. 
For three hours our English guns played mightily 
upon the Spaniards, and they in turn, being 
armed with heavier artillery, replied with deadly 
hurt. The Warspite was shut from our view by 
clouds of smoke, and diademed with red jewels of 
fire. 'Twas the first time I had ever faced a 
sea-fight, and for a soldier 'twas a stern trial. 
Here was no breach to attack or enemy to regard ; 
only the menace of countless great shot pouring 
like hail from an abyss of smoke and flame. We 
soldiers could but stand to our posts on deck, 
praying that the hour would come when with 
cold steel we might make return. Some of us 
were sore wounded. One of my lord's gentlemen 
had his arm shot off at the shoulder, and I saw a 
seaman laughing one second and the next a head- 
less trunk. All the while the flood-tide was 
rising, and, being lightly anchored, we were 
drifting nearer to the galleons. 

After an eternity of waiting, Sir Walter came 
to us in a skiff, his face so black with powder 
I had taken him for a negro. He implored my 


lord to send him the fly-boats, for without them 
he could not bring the fight to an issue. 

" Fly-boats ! " cried my lord. " I would give 
my left hand for the sight of them. There has 
been treason in this, Sir Walter, or else my lord 
Howard's wits have gone a-wandering." 

" I wait no 'more ! " said Sir Walter, getting 
aboard his skiff. " I can endure this battery no 
longer. If we wait we must burn, if we board 
we may sink, and either fate is destruction. 
They have the guns of us, man two to our one. 
I go to shake hands with the Philip, and shall be 
aboard her before the Dons can cry 'Santiago!'' 

Then began the most desperate strife I have 
ever witnessed. For between Sir Walter, my 
lord Essex, and my lord Thomas there was a 
noble rivalry as to who should first grapple with 
the galleons. Indeed, 'twas like a play of school- 
boys; for my lord Thomas, pressing forward, 
would have drawn his ship alongside of the 
Warspite, but Sir Walter cut the warp. So it 
came that the Warspite and the Swiftsure, in 
which ship was my lord Essex and myself, 
formed the van of our English line at the mouth 


of the straits into which the galleons were 

The flow of the tide set them straining on 
their anchor-ropes, so that they leaned over 
towards the shore. Their fire was slackening, 
for with the list of their hulls the great guns on 
their upper decks shot too high, and, though 
they cut our cordage and brought down our 
spars, they did little hurt to our crews or men- 
at-arms. I remember that Sir Walter flung a 
hawser, so that he might warp his ship along of 
the S. Philip^ and fast as the rope was flung the 
Spaniards cast it loose, and heeded not our 
musket fire. There was a window of a poop 
cabin where grew a rose in a pot, a strange sight 
in such a mist of terror. With every motion of 
the galleon the little flower rocked, so that I 
found myself waiting on its fate, oblivious of 
what was a-doing around me. Such small things 
will hold a man's regard in a crisis, and to me 
that rose was the gauge of our toil. If it fell, I 
made sure that the Navy of Spain was conquered. 
A hand was stretched out at last and the flower 
drawn in ; and at the same moment a bullet 


grazed my right ear, causing me to bleed like 
a stuck pig. Also I saw Sir Walter's hawser 
fixed at last, and the Warspite begin to draw 
up to the Philip. 

'Twas the turn of the battle. The Spaniard 
had no heart for English steel. A trumpet 
blared, and the anchor-ropes of all four galleons 
were cut. They set in to the shore with the 
tide and wind, and the Warspite was like to have 
gone with them. But, seeing the peril, one of 
the seamen cut the warp with an axe, and she 
rode clear. Then ensued a horrid and amazing 
spectacle. All four galleons heeled over on the 
mudbank, and from ports and deck men were 
spewed like sea-coal from a basket. Many were 
dying of wounds, and there were dead men that 
rolled heavily like bales into the sea. The 
S. Philip and S. Thomas caught fire, and vented 
forth great belches of dark smoke, while ever 
and anon a keg of powder would explode and 
shoot red flames skyward. We on the Swiftsure 
were scorched with the heat, and choked with 
the fumes of it. Sharpshooters on the poop of 
the S. Matthew still kept up a deadly fire, while 


all the aim of our fleet was to capture the 
grounded galleons which were yet unburnt. 
There was no sign of fly-boats, and we could 
not with safety urge our vessels nearer the shore, 
so we must take to the pinnaces and long-boats 
and row through the reek to the mudbank where 
the S. Andrew and S. Matthew lay. The boats 
from the Warspite were there before us, and such 
a confusion began that if any had desired to see 
Hell, there 'twas most livelily enfigured. We 
set parties to pick up such of the Spaniards in 
the water as were yet alive, and would doubtless 
have saved more had not the boats from the 
Flemish ships come up and begun an accursed 
work of butchery. Indeed my lord Essex bade 
us fire upon that rabble, that they might learn 
the decencies of a soldier's trade. 

Sir Walter was first aboard the S. Andrew^ 
being eager to capture the galleon that had 
fought with Sir Richard Grenville's Revenge. 
But by this time all order in the fight had 
slackened, and those who had not swum to shore 
or been choked in the mud were huddled like 
limpets on the steep-sloping deck, clinging to 


cords and pins and whatever might give them 
hold. Yet one or two in the crosstrees still kept 
up a fire, and one shot, striking on deck, played 
such havoc with Sir Walter's leg that he all but 
rolled into the sea. I chanced to be at his side, 
and gave him support, but 'twas a horrid wound, 
all interlaced with splinters of wood. Yet so 
great was his spirit that he had the strength to 
receive the submission of the Spanish Admiral 
before he swooned in my arms. 

We had made prize of two galleons, and the 
others were but shells frizzling to the water's 
edge. I carried Sir Walter back to the Warspite^ 
and had the wound dressed with such rough 
chirurgery as availed us. He was in a fury of 
impatience, for it seemed to him we were about 
to lose the fruits of victory. My lord Essex had 
ordered an assault upon the City of Cadiz ; but, 
said Sir Walter, we have destroyed the City's 
defence, and 'tis like a ripe plum that can be 
plucked at will. A city cannot flee, but ships 
can, and beyond the Puntal Channel was the 
Indian Flota, laden with the tribute of the West. 
If we took it not now, he held it would escape 


us by the narrow channel to the south, so soon 
as the tide allowed, and be in some safe port by 
the evening. He sent messengers to the Lord 
High Admiral and my lord Thomas and my lord 
Essex, but the mind of the Council was set on 
sacking the City. 'Tis a malady that burns 
strong in a man after a bloody fight, as I have 
witnessed in the Low Countries. They sent 
back civil words about his wound, and bade him 
consider his health and his value to Her Majesty. 

Whereupon Sir Walter fumed himself into a 
fever. " There is naught for it, Sir Adam," he 
said, " but that you and I should go alone. I 
will take twenty-five men-at-arms and a score of 
sailors. The Flota will be but a lame duck now 
that it has lost its defenders. We will ship our- 
selves in pinnaces, and trust to God to give us 
the wealth of New Spain. 'Tis the Guiana 
voyage repeated." 

I implored him to respect his weakness, but 
he would take no denial. He gave the orders, 
and in an hour's time we were embarked in the 
boats, while from the shore came the first 
thunder of the great guns in my lords' assault 


on the City. That harbour was as strange a 
place as I have ever seen. Well might it have 
been called the Spaniards' Graveyard. For the 
dead floated everywhere, and the wreckage of 
ships, blackened with fire and reddened with 
men's blood. It was silent, too, for the captured 
galleons had been towed off, the lighter Spanish 
ships had fled inward, and there was no sound 
save the seagulls and a last spluttering of flames 
from the hulls of the S. Philip and S. Thomas. 
I remember that I wondered what had befallen 
the little rose-plant in the pot. . . . 

We were not opposed, save for some stray 
shots from the land, till we had gone through 
half the channel. Then beyond us we saw the 
tall masts of the Flota, and in front an array of 
galleys, the same which Sir Walter had saluted 
with his trumpets below the forts of the City. 
At the sight of them we let out a cheer, and our 
fellows bent fiercely to the sweeps. 

"Tis the Plate Fleet," Sir Walter cried. 
" One more tussle, lads, and we have our hands 
on the treasury of Spain." 

'Tis hard to stand against one who is newly 


victor, and 'tis doubly hard, if you be the keeper 
of treasure, to withstand a victor who burns for 
it. The sight of our grim faces sent half of the 
crews of the galleys overboard. There were 
some that kept their places, and we had two men 
slain in the first boat ; but the galley crews were 
rebelling, and had out their sweeps even against 
the will of the soldiers, who would have fought. 
There was no need to board. Such galleys as 
did not flee before us were emptied of men, so 
that 'twas like sailing through a woodyard. 
" Twenty strokes, lads," Sir Walter cried, " and 
we are at the gold." 

Then that happened which rebuffed our hopes, 
but did great honour to the Spanish nation. One 

instant we were looking at the Flota, with men on 
every deck ; and the next the great ships seemed 
to fly asunder in a dazzle of light. The heavens 
were torn with the crash of it, and we of the boats 
crouched in the bottoms, expecting momentarily 
to be engulfed. Some timbers did indeed strike 
us, and there were men bruised and wounded ; but, 
mercifully, we had not advanced near enough to 
suffer heavily either from the rubbish or the swirl 


of the water over the sinking ships. The Spanish 
gunners had done their work well. When the 
air cleared, we sat moodily at our thwarts, rubbing 
our eyes and gazing into the sea which held the 
dust of a Navy. Far off we saw certain of the 


galleys fleeing to a south port. 

Sir Walter's complexion changed from wrath 
to a sudden humour. He took off his hat and 
saluted the empty channel. 

" Twelve million gold ducats," he said, " gone 
to the congers and God knows how many 
human souls. They have learned Dick Gren- 
ville's lesson. I love not Spaniards in life, but 
some have a pretty notion how to die." 

Chapter VI. 

" O what a noble mind is here o'erthrown ! 
The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's eye, tongue, sword, 
The expectancy and rose of the fair state . . . 
The observed of all observers, quite, quite down ! " 

Hamlet III. i. 159-162. 






' I 

Chapter VI, 


bitter evening in the third week before 
Christmas, having finished my comments on 
the case Doe against Thomas Altwhistle for my 
master, Mr. Serjeant Jodrell, I bethought myself 
of the need of supper. My lodgings above 
Middle Temple Lane were grown mortal chilly, 
and the single lamp by which I pursued my 
toil had turned so smoky and foul that 'twas 
worse than a farthing dip. My former servant 
was dead of the Plague, and I had to make shift 
with a wastrel out of Whitefriars, who mulcted 
me grossly and gave me small comfort. 'Twas 
the night for a tavern, and my thoughts dwelt 
lovingly on the roaring wood-fires and the ex- 
cellent mulled ale of Gilpin's in Fetter Lane. 

* From the Memoirs of Philip Benedict, Esquire, of the Middle Temple ; 

afterwards a Judge of His Majesty's Court of Common Pleas, 
(1,562) " 9 


I went forth about six o'clock into a town 
which lay still as death under the stricture of 
a great frost. It had been such a winter as no 
living man remembered. A weeping summer had 
wakened the Plague, and in each week of Sep- 
tember over two thousand died. Then had come 
an autumn of roaring gales, which purged the 
infection but slew the frail by scores. To this 
had followed a binding frost, so that ice crackled 
on the edge of the salt tides, and beer was frozen 
in jugs, and a man had much ado to keep the 
blood flowing in his veins. Also the land was dis- 
turbed by treasons, and tales of Spanish invasions, 
and Scottish tumults. There had been the treason 
of the Bye, as it was called, for which the priests 
Watson and Clarke and my lord Grey of Wilton 
had been condemned, and the treason of the Main, 
for which my lord Cobham and Sir Walter Raleigh 
were to suffer death. For myself, I could make 
no meaning out of it all. There were some said 
that the aim was to bring the lady Arabella 
Stuart to the throne, and some the Infanta of 
Spain ; but 'twas generally agreed that the 
Popish religion was to be set up and Protestant 


heads to tumble. At any rate, the priests had 
died a month ago, and this very day at Win- 
chester the axe was to fall upon Sir Walter and 
the lords Grey and Cobham. I did not sorrow 
for their fate save that I had heard Raleigh 
highly reported of as a wit, and I had some 
regret that great parts and dishonesty should be 
so conjoined. 

I found my seat by the fire at Gilpin's, and 
when I had turned the edge of my hunger took 
leisure to survey the company. There was a 
lawyer of Gray's Inn, whom I knew and liked 
little a jackal of the King's attorney, Sir 
Edward Coke, who had learned the ill tongue 
of his master. There were several merchants 
of the City, notably Alderman Killigrew, whose 
voice was the loudest on earth, and Master 
Milliard, a man reputed of vast wealth, whose 
ships plied between Limehouse and the Low 
Countries. There was a countryman or two, 
come up to Smithfield for the winter markets, 
and two men whom from their dress 1 judged 
to have travelled far. One was clearly a gentle- 
man, though his face was browned like a 


shepherd's, and the other a great broad man 
with a fierce beard on his upper lip and the 
sharp blue eyes of the mariner. 

The tavern of late had been filled with talk of 
treason and abuse of the traitors, and the Alder- 
man was loud in the matter. The King had 
no more zealous friend than this haberdasher 
of Cheapside, and to listen to him you would 
have thought that he sat at the least on His 
Majesty's Council. He narrated the late lament- 
able plots, and was especially bitter against Sir 
Walter Raleigh. I questioned him, and he 
answered that the reason of his hate was two- 
fold : this Raleigh's treatment of my lord Essex, 
and his harshness with unlicensed adventurers 
who had infringed the Virginian monopoly. It 
seemed that Master Killigrew had been laid by 
the heels under a warrant of Council for import- 
ing sassafras against the monopoly, and thereby 
lowering the market price. His wares were 
seized, and he was mulcted in a fine, and when 
he sought mercy from Sir Walter he was sent 
packing with little comfort. The thought made 
him choke with gall 


" Ay, sirs, he scorned me me, the Master of 
the Worshipful Company of Brazenfaces, and. by 
God's grace within seven years Lord Mayor of 
London. This scorner of God and true religion 
raised a sacrilegious foot against my quarters. 
I could not abide his choleric eye. But Heaven 
has granted me vengeance. I saw him on the 
27th day of October being carried by Richmond 
in a coach with the King's officers. There 
was such a crowd that the horses could scarce 
win their way. I saw many of my worshipful 
friends, and honest prentice lads with their 
staves, and scores of hearty citizens come out 
to cry against treason. When he came, this 
Raleigh, this Court popinjay and silken deceiver, 
with his proud eyes and his hand ever on sword 
Ods, masters, but it was a noble sight ! 
You could scarce prevent the good folk from 
tearing him asunder. They shouted out their 
threats, and flung pipe-stems and stones and 
mud. 'Twas the vengeance of the people, all 
done in honesty and good reason, seeing as they 
were but the instruments of the Almighty's 
wrath. I marked the mien of the crowd and 


there was no foolish tumult, but a grave resolu- 
tion. 'Twas both mild and awful." 

" Mud and offal," said Master Hilliard very 

The Alderman swung round as he had been 
stung. But before he could speak, the broad 
sailorman got up, and, pulling his forelock 
politely, says, " Did I hear, sir, as how stones 
and pipe-sticks were flung at Sir Walter ? I 
pray you for the names of those as done it, for 
Nathan Stubbs* would like to have some manner 
o' talk with them." 

The Alderman looked darkly at the speaker, 
for he did not follow his West Country speech. 
On Master Hilliard he turned fiercely. 

" You defend the traitor ! " he cried, " against 
the righteous wrath of the people ? ' 

" I defend a great man against a rabble," says 
Master Hilliard. " Sir Walter has broken my 
head ere now for my ventures when they ran 
counter to his own, but he would ever protect 
England and the merchants of England against 
the common foe. Why, 'twas this Raleigh that 

* See Chap. IV. 


kept the narrow seas clear for us venturers and 
wrung gold out of a stone to pay for war-ships." 

" He was a monopolist," said the Alderman, 
shaking his head like a sick dog. " And he 
loved war and display and the things that beggar 

Master Hilliard laughed loud as he rilled the 
bowl of his pipe with tobacco. " Tell that 
to your Brazenfaces at their next sederunt. 
Why, man, but for this Raleigh you and your 
like would have the Dons' swords pricking your 
fat sides till you gave up your crowns and 
mumbled paternosters. Some day, when you 
hear the enemy's guns booming in the Thames, 
you will repent of your folly, and sigh for the 
man who kept your coasts." 

" I liked him little," said Gilpin, the host, who 
was carving a sirloin. " He was no trencherman, 
and would not drink good liquor when he was in 
the way of it." 

One of the countrymen took his mouth out of 
a pint pot. " Rawley ! " he cried in his broad 
Leicestershire tongue. " He was a good friend 
to us graziers. I mind two years ago, when Her 


Majesty, God rest her, would have passed an Act 
to make every man plough a third of his land, 
this Rawley up in Parliament and spoke against 
it. ' I do not like,' he says and I cherish his 
words ' this constraining of men to use their 
ground at our wills ; but rather that every man 
use his ground to that which it is most fit for, 
and therein use his own discretion.' God's truth, 
thinks I, for I will earn twenty crowns a year off 
pasturing beasts when I would lose ten if I 
ploughed the acres. Here's to Rawley 's health, 
wherever he be ! ' 

The seaman was still at the Alderman, pulling 
his lock and speaking courteously. " Touching 
that flinging of pipe-stems at Sir Walter," he was 
going on, when the gentleman who sat beside 
him pulled him down. 

" Tush, Nathan, you will get no satisfaction 
out of that ox." Then, " Gentlemen all," he 
says, looking round the company, " Sir Walter 
Raleigh, who is now with God, was my very 
good friend. I have known him since we played 
together in boyhood, and I will uphold that the 
King had no loyaller servant or England a more 


valiant lover. I impugn not the justice of his 
sentence, but if he erred 'twas unwittingly, and 
this day he hath paid the extreme penalty. But 
one thing I affirm, and will maintain it with my 
sword : When the King's Attorney said he had 
a Spanish heart and plotted a Spanish invasion, 
the King's Attorney most foully and blackly lied. 
Sir Walter's soul ever loathed Spain as he loved 

" Treason ! ' cried the shrill voice of the 
Gray's Inn lawyer, Cheape by name. "He 
speaks treason against the King's Attorney- 
General, and this hath been held no less than 
treason against the King's person. 'Twere mis- 
prision to listen calmly, the crime for which the 
traitor Raleigh hath this day died." 

" Treason ! " cried Alderman Killigrew in his 
bellman's voice. 

" I know not the condition of the protestants," 
said the gentleman sweetly, " but if they be 
gently born I will make amends for my words. 
I am Sir John Buller,* a knight of Devon, and 
my sword is at their service." 

* See Chap. I. 


Master Cheape was a man of peace, and he 
shrank back into his corner and blinked his 

" Nay, no offence, sir," he says ; " but I must 
uphold the honour of my great master and 
patron, Sir Edward Coke. He has riper wisdom 
in the law than any man living, and he deals not 
in idle words. He proved to the Court that 
Raleigh was guilty of treason on five counts and 
of misprision on three. I grant you that on 
certain points he had but the one witness, but 
that witness was my lord Cobham, who spoke 
against interest since he thereby lost his own 
head. Moreover, as I will show by the Act i 
and 2 Philip and Mary, 'tis laid down that in a 
case of treason one witness will suffice, and 
accordingly " 

But he got no further. The door swung 
open, and there entered a tall man in long boots 
and riding cloak, whose face glowed like a fire 
from the bitter weather. He bowed to the com- 
pany, and called for mulled wine and a hot pasty. 
There was that in his voice that bespoke the 
soldier, and his restless dark eye seemed inured 


to wars. 'Twas unfortunate for the Alderman 
that he chose that moment, when the new- 
comer had seated himself, to begin the discourse 

" True law and good law, Master Cheape," he 
said. " A man may sleep in his bed while the 
land hath Sir Edward Coke as a faithful watch- 
dog against ravening wolves. It stands to reason 
that this Raleigh was a spy of Spain ; for if Spain 
be an enemy of England, and this Raleigh be the 
enemy of the King and his Council, therefore by 
plain logic he hath a Spanish heart." 

I was watching the new-comer, and saw his 
brows lower. He stretched a long arm and 
caught the Alderman by the neck. 

" Recant those words, fat man," he said, while 
his great hand swayed the head back and forward 
like a puppet-doll. " I have sworn to suffer no 
greasy citizen to defile that name." 

" Fetch the guard ! " cried the choking Alder- 

" Ay, fetch the guard," said the soldier ; " I 
will fling them a piece of dead carrion when 
they come." 


'Twas so comic a sight that I could not keep 
from laughing ; and since 'twas clear that the 
new-comer was doing no great harm, we did not 
stir to prevent him. The Alderman spluttered 
and gurgled, but, seeing no better way of it, he 
stammered a withdrawal and was released. 

" What comes of English liberty," he cried, 
valiant as ever, when he had gotten to the far 
end of the room, " if a man cannot speak well of 
the law of the land without being throttled by a 
wandering bully ? ' 

" I care not a fig for English liberty," the 
soldier smiled. " But I will let no gutter-blood 
spit venom on a fair name. The law hath its 
own defenders, but so long as Gervase Luttrell * 
lives he will defend the fame of the great Captain 
who this day hath declined on death." 

At this Sir John Buller reached his hand to 
him, and we three in the corner by the fire fell 
to talking very pleasantly, while the Alderman 
sulked, the seaman smoked his pipe, the country- 
men drank deep, and Master Milliard baited 
Master Cheape. The landlord, fearful of another 

* See Chap. II. 


quarrel, and being of a merry disposition, called 
for a song, and having most dread of the soldier, 
pressed him for a catch. 

" Nay, friend," says this Captain Luttrell, " I 
am in no singing mood. This day I have lost 
a friend and master. I ha' come post haste 
from Winchester, for I could not bear to see 
the axe fall on that noble head. I waited there 
after the trial, hoping to have speech with Sir 
Walter, but he was kept too close." 

" You were at the trial, sir ? ' I asked. 

The soldier nodded. " I stood in the crowd 
through all the days of it. You must know 
that I have served with Sir Walter, both long 
ago in the Irish Wars, and some six years since 
in the fighting in the Azores. At the taking 
of the town called Villa Dorta I marched alone 
with him in a rain of shot, while my knees 
gave under me, and he laughed lightly and 
whistled a song. But never have I seen such 
a height of courage in man as in that Court 
at Winchester. He stood there like a royal stag 
bayed by a pack of curs. There was a row of 
Judges and Commissioners, void and foolish men, 


with malice in their dazed eyes ; and in the 
midst the Lord Chief Justice, who had been 
better employed in the pursuits of his youth, 
when he took purses on Shooter's Hill. Before 
them raved the King's Attorney with a brace 
of fat Serjeants. c Thou hast a Spanish heart,' 
they cried ; c thou art a Spider of Hell,' 'twas 
their best argument. They had lungs of brass, 
and their mouths frothed with venom." 

"Treason !" cried Master Cheape. 

" Another word, ferret face," says the soldier, 
" and you will go through the window, bars 
and all." 

" I never dreamed of such a sight," he went 
on. " I am unlearned in the law, but mother- 
wit tells me that no man can be judged on the 
sole evidence of one who is a proved liar and 
recants what he says ere he hath said it. What 
more was my lord Cobham than a half-witted 
coward, who bleated whatever he thought might 
save his neck ? The most that Sir Walter was 
shown to have done was to have listened too toler- 
antly when the man raved, and to have thought 
him more fool than rogue. But the King's 


Attorney bellowed, and the Lord Chief Justice 
nodded his foolish head, and told the Jury that 
'twas high treason for a man to be offered Spanish 
gold, though he never received it and would die 
ere he touched it. And the Jury nodded in turn, 
and went to sleep. But when Sir Walter spoke 
'twas like the north wind that clears a fog. He 
was courteous to all, even to the mongrels that 
baited him, but if ever right reason triumphed 
'twas on his lips. There were many in that Court 
who hated him before they saw and heard him, 
but who left the place sworn believers in his great- 
ness and innocence. Nay, there was a Scot to 
whom I spoke, who had been sent by the King to 
write a record of the trial. He said that when he 
first came he would have gone a hundred miles 
to see Raleigh hanged, but ere the close he 
would have walked a thousand to save his life." 

I asked about the end. 

" The Jury had been taught their piece, and 
spoke it correctly. They obeyed the orders 
of the Lord Chief Justice, who obeyed in turn 
the faction of my lord Cecil and the Howards. 
Sir Walter spoke nobly at the close, and asked 


only for an honourable mode of death. As for 
me, I was so blinded with tears that I could 
scarce see. I walked into the street, and when 
I heard a man speak aught against Raleigh I 
pounded his head on the cobbles. I' faith, I 
left some sore crowns in Winchester that day." 

The street door swung open again, and an 
icy blast set the candles flickering. The man 
who entered was a lawyer of the Middle Tem- 
ple, much of my own standing, one Master John 
Pym, out of Somerset. He came in briskly 
with a light in his eyes. 

" Have you heard the news, Philip ? ' he 
cried to me. " The King hath reprieved Sir 
Walter Raleigh." 

At that there was such a shouting as brought 
in the guard to discover the cause. The seaman 
Nathan Stubbs arose and, catching Master Hilliard 
by the waist, whirled him into a hornpipe. Sir 
John and Captain Luttrell called for wine, and 
pledged first His Majesty, and then Sir Walter, 
and last of all gave the toast of confusion to all 
traitors, naming no names. 'Twas easy to read 


their meaning, and the Alderman and the Gray's 
Inn fellow were black with wrath. 

Then Captain Luttrell declared that he was 
in the mood for singing at last, and would obey 
Master Gilpin's behest. So in a great round 
voice he trolled these verses : 

The Almiranty of Santa Fee 
Guards to 'tend him had fifty-three ; 
And pikes and muskets a goodly store, 
And long-nosed cannons, forty and more ; 
And five great ships that tossed on the sea, 
Had the Almiranty of Santa Fee. 

Dickon of Devon had nought to his name 

But a ragged shirt and an empty fame, 

An old plumed hat and the Devil's own pride, 

And a worn old blade that swung at his side. 

But he hated Spaniards terribillee, 

And the Almiranty of Santa Fee. 

The Almiranty of Santa Fee 
Had a laughing lady, fair and free ; 
Gold in chest and wine in keg, 
And pearls as big as a pigeon's egg ; 
And crosses and jewels so rare to see, 
Had the Almiranty of Santa Fee. 

Now Dickon came in with the wind, came he, 

And burned the castle of Santa Fee, 

Slew the guards and rifled the chests, 

And tossed the guns to the sea-birds' nests ; 

And he said to the dame, " Will ye come with me, 

Or bide in the ashes of Santa Fee ? " 

(1,562) 10 


Then up and spoke the lady free, 
" It's out of this prison I fain would be. 

For I am of England, bred and born, 

And I hold all yellow-faced Dons in scorn."- 
" Oh, a widowed man this day I be ! " 

Quo' the Almiranty of Santa Fee. 

Master Pym, though little older than myself, 
had a gravity beyond his years. He had a 
broad chest, and a head like a lion's, and the 
serenest blue eyes I have ever seen in man. 
Long after, when he had come to great fame 
in the nation, I reminded him of the night 
at Gilpin's and of his joyful news. And he 
answered that Raleigh was the first of those 
who stood for the liberties of England, and 
that he and Sir John Eliot and the others of 
the Parliament but walked in his footsteps. 

On this occasion he told his tale with dancing 
eyes. A post had come from Winchester to 
tell how, when his head was all but on the 
block, Sir Walter had been reprieved and sent 
prisoner to the Tower. At this very moment 
he was on his way under guard to London. 

The tide hath turned," said Master Pym. 
The very mob which a month ago would have 




torn him from his keepers is now shouting his 
praises, and calling for vengeance upon them 
that traduced him. My lord Cobham will do 
wisely to keep out of their hands. Mark you, 
sirs, Sir Walter hath not always conducted 
himself discreetly. He hath been headstrong 
and over-proud, and hath confounded oftentimes 
his own glory and his land's welfare. But he 
hath stood manfully for England, and the great 
heart of him could not sink to the reptile ways 
of the common courtier. This trial hath purged 
his fame in all honest eyes. He hath shown 
such a spirit in the face of disaster that from his 
words will be born a new gospel for the people. 
In after days, when we have long been dust, no 
man will remember Sir Edward Coke or my 
Lord Chief Justice Popham save as those who, 
like Judas and Pilate, betrayed innocent blood." 

" Blasphemy ! ' cried Master Cheape, who 
with a sad countenance was making ready to 
depart. " 'Tis an ill day for England when 
a jackanapes from the West will teach law to 
his masters, and confound black treason with 



The other laughed pleasantly. 

" I am no lawyer, Master Cheape, though I 
have studied law. But I will give you a word 
in friendly season. Make the most of the 
present, for the day comes when you will fare 
badly. Doubt not there is a new spirit coming 
to birth in this land. I will yet live to see its 
workings, and when that day comes 'twill go 
ill with lick-spittles, whether of Kings or King's 

Master Pym said no more, for Nathan Stubbs 
was plucking at his elbow. 

" A mercy, kind sir," whispered the sailorman. 
" You are a friend to Sir Walter, and I would 
have a word in your ear. You speak of his 
lying in the prison of the Tower. Tell me, 
is this Tower a strong place, or could it be taken 
by resolute men ? There be twenty and more 
of us, lying at the ' Green Wife ' in Wapping. 
We be all lusty fellows, and handy for a 

rescue. . . ." 

Chapter VII. 

" Stone walls do not a prison make, 

Nor iron bars a cage ; 
Minds innocent and quiet take 
These for a heritage." 


l_,,.l'-,-.l"...<.-'.<* r "'*h- >l>r..J. 


-. -,: 

Chapter VII. 



TN the spring of the year 1612 I was deputed 
by the Principal and Fellows of Brasenose 
College to journey to London on various matters 
concerning our lands, and likewise to bear the 
thanks of the University of Oxford to the noble- 
men, gentlemen, and scholars who had made gifts 
to Sir Thomas Bodley's new Library. Among 
these donors were my lord Pembroke and, what 
seemed to me a portent of generosity, Sir Walter 
Raleigh, who from his prison in the Tower, and 
out of the poor relics of his fortune, spared no 
less a sum than 50. My lodging was at the 
house in Holborn of my mother's cousin, Master 
John Hoskyns, the famed Serjeant-at-law, and 
one of the most admired scholars of the day. 

*A record left by that admirable scholar, Mr. Richard Bristowe of Brase- 
nose College, Oxford, afterwards Lord Bishop of Lincoln and Editor of the 
Opera of Seneca. 


We would walk together, discoursing of high 
matters, and visiting those sights of the City 
which were marvels to a country-bred man. On 
the afternoon of May-day, I remember, we took 
the air on the wharf by the river from which the 
eye looks to the terraced gardens of the Tower. 
There I saw a man pacing, his hands behind his 
back, and his shoulders bent as if in thought. 
Suddenly there came up a ship with the tide, her 
sails dropping as she rode to anchor. The man 
put his hands to his eyes and stared at the vessel, 
as if he had been a sailor on the look-out. There 
were other spectators near, and I heard a murmur 
in the throng that the prisoner was Sir Walter 
Raleigh. Judge how I gazed at one whose name 
those thirty years had flown through the mouths 
of men. 

The Serjeant marked my interest. " This 
evening," he said, " we will go to visit Sir 
Walter. He welcomes his friends after supper, 
and you will find better talk in his chamber than 
in any tavern of the wits." 

So it fell that the same evening I put on my 
best suit of laced velvet, for in London I love to 


dress rather as courtier than as scholar, and took 
a coach to the West Gate of the Tower. Master 
Hoskyns was a familiar figure, and we were con- 
ducted straightway to that part of the Castle 
known as the Bloody Tower, because of the 
deaths of King Edward V. and his brother. We 
entered a pleasant chamber, with windows on 
two sides, looking on one hand to the Terrace 
and the river wharves, and on the other to the 
Lieutenant's bowling green and a pretty garden 
of roses. The place was handsomely provided, 
and a small fire of logs burned on the hearth. 
There I found company assembled my lady 
Raleigh, who lodged near by, and Master John 
Talbot, and the famous Ben Jonson, who was 
declaiming a scene of a play. There were 
likewise a Guiana Indian, who waited as page 
upon my Lady, and a small lean-faced man with 
deep-set eyes, who I was told was His Majesty's 
Solicitor, Sir Francis Bacon. My Lady sat on 
a settle by the west window, busy with some 
broidery, while the others talked and listened to the 
poet, and smoked the tobacco herb in long pipes. 
Sir Walter Raleigh was dressed richly in 


scarlet trunk hose and a blue velvet doublet, 
with a furred gown around his shoulders. He 
sat close to the hearth, for he had the ague 
in his bones, and suffered much from chilliness. 
I remember how kindly he bade me welcome, 
speaking to me of Oxford and the scholars of 
his acquaintance, but ever with a word to the 
others, so as to bind us all in one circle of 
discourse. He was already past the meridian 
of life, but till I looked close at him 'twas 
hard to credit it. For he bore himself gallantly, 
and his eyes had ever a spark of fire and a laugh- 
ing humour. Yet his face was shrunken about 
the jaws, his brows were lined and seamed, and 
a web of crow's feet rimmed his eyes. In his 
hair and beard, though tended carefully, there 
were many threads of grey. 'Twas the face 
of one who, like Ulysses, had seen men and 
cities, and had dared whatever man may dare. 
There were moments when I thought of him 
as an elder whose day had passed, but at other 
times he had the free and radiant air of youth, 
so that he seemed rather a lion caged than an 
old man dedicate to the leisure of age. 


We talked first of his great History, wherein 
Ben and Sir Francis Bacon were his allies. I 
have never seen such a devourer of books, or one 
who used his knowledge so aptly. He would 
puzzle Ben no mean scholar with a Greek 
line, and confound Sir Francis with a subtlety of 
Justinian's law. From the company of his books, 
he said, he drew more true comfort than ever from 
his courtly companions in their chiefest bravery. 
'Twas honestly said, I doubt not, and yet it rang 
hollow. I could not look at those eyes and believe 
them wedded for all time to a lettered page. 

Then at a question of the King's Solicitor 
the talk turned to matters of statecraft. Sir 
Walter had written a discourse on The Prerogative 
of Parliaments, and had had it copied for gifts to 
his friends. Holding this discourse in his hands, 
Sir Francis was for questioning certain of its 

" There is but the one prerogative," said he, 
" which is a seamless robe and indivisible. If 
it be in His Majesty he cannot share it with his 
subjects, still less with any Parliament of subjects." 

"True," said Sir Walter. "There is but 


the one prerogative, but as I read the laws of 
England, Sir Francis and these last years I have 
read in them deeply that prerogative is not in 
His Majesty's person but in his office, and that 
office is, as it were, a trust for the benefit of all. 
The law is the true sovereign. If His Majesty 
offend against the law fundamental, his deeds are 
void : and therein I agree with my old foe, Sir 
Edward Coke. 'Twas the lesson which the 
Barons of England read to King John at Runny- 

" Then where is your royal prerogative ? ' 
cried the King's Solicitor. "Sir Walter! Sir 
Walter ! I fear you are treading dangerous 

Raleigh smiled, and with the tongs drew a 
coal for his pipe. 

" 'Tis a simple matter, like all true ones. The 
King has his prerogative inasmuch as he is the 
guardian of the laws. If he err in his wardship, 
he forfeits the honours which belong to him 
because of that wardship. All the Estates of 
the realm are, in a manner of speaking, one 
body, and as the leg hath no claim against the 


arm, so Commons have no right against Lords 
or Lords against Commons, so be they perform 
their proper duties. But the brain and heart 
of the body I take to be the King, and 'tis his 
office to see that all others play their parts, and 
that the body, which is the realm, flourished! 
by those rules of civil health, which I call the 
law fundamental of England. He dare not rule 
harshly, for in so doing he is harsh to himself. 
As I have written in my History., c no cords have 
ever lasted long save those which have been 
twisted by love only.' If the brain bids the leg 
be still and move not, the leg will grow palsied, 
because it hath broken the law of the body, and 
in time the brain itself will die. 'Tis so with 

" Then," said Sir Francis, " it would seem as 
if His Majesty had no powers save as watchdog 
over black-letter statutes. 'Tis a sore downfall 
for the Lord's Anointed." 

Sir Walter's face grew grave. " There is 
no downfall, for the King is the State, and the 
law is the law of his own well-being. Be 
warned, Sir Francis. I honour kingship above 


all earthly honours, and I would see it flourish 
immortally. But if ever the King set himself 
outside the State and without the Law, his pre- 
rogative will turn to a thing of gossamer. Then 
you will hear the cry of the prerogative of the 
Commons, as in ancient Athens, and haply 
Parliament will set itself as sovereign above the 
King ay, and above the people." 

The King's Solicitor flung up his hands and 
laughed. " A prison hath made you a prophet, 
but your vision outruns reason. I, who have 
some share in the governance of the State, have 
no such forebodings. I would strengthen His 
Majesty so that he become in very truth God's 
regent on earth." 

Raleigh turned to me. " You will live the 
longest of us, for you are the youngest. Treasure 
my words, Master Bristowe, and when you are 
old consider if I have spoken falsely." 

Ben had grown weary of the discussion, and 
was for singing a new song from a play called 
Cymbeline^ but lately given to the town. 'Twas 
a dirge of the vanity of human hopes, about 
golden lads and girls who come to dust. He 


had got to the third verse when the door opened 
and a young man entered. 

I had never seen him before, but the company 
knew him and stood up at his advent. He was 
a slim lad of some eighteen years, with a pale 
complexion, but ripe and masterful brown eyes. 
Sir Francis bowed low before him, and my Lady 
came forward with a deep curtsey. But Raleigh 
took him by the hand and drew him to the fire. 
"Welcome, Harry," he said ; "your ship is ready 
at last." And Sir Francis said, " 'Tis a chill 
evening, sire." Then I knew that the stranger 
was the Prince of Wales. 

I know little of Courts, but the lad was as 
merry among us as if he had been Sir Walter's 
son. His coming dispelled all dull converse on 
statecraft and Ben's funereal ditties. Raleigh 
drew from a cupboard a little ship, the same in 
all parts as one which sails the sea. 'Twas fitted 
with masts and spars and cordage, and even little 
guns of brass. He set it in a slip on the table, 
and we clustered round to admire. 

" 'Tis called by your name, Harry," said the 
maker. " As the Prince 'twill sail its mimic 


course, and I trust 'twill show the seamanship 
of its godsire. John Shelbury, and Keymis, and I 
have wrought hard at it for the past month, and 
to me the task has been like a cordial. The 
fingers make pleasant tools when the brain is 

" As for cordials," said the Prince, " my 
mother bids me beg for a further supply of that 
of your own making. She hath three maids sick 
of the fever. . . . Pray, is that spar in the right 
proportion ? Master Pett favours a heavier 

And so they talked like two shipwrights, 
while the rest of us waited, much tickled by 
this boyish play, for Sir Walter was as eager 
as the Prince. He had a tale for every item 
of tackle. This had been shot away at Cadiz 
in the Warsplte^ and that at the Azores in the 
Good Venture. And then he fell to memories 
till the ship was forgotten. Candles were lit, 
and we sat round the May fire, while Sir Walter 
looked into the smoke-clouds of his pipe and 
told strange tales. 'Twas the highest pleasure 
I have ever got from the lips of man. An hour 


ago he had been the statesman speaking of sober 
statecraft, but now he was Ulysses, telling of 
a new Phasacia and a better Alcinous. He 
spoke of Guiana and the great river whose 
shores gleam with gold, and the scented glades 
all hung with strange fruits which glow like 
lamps in the forest dusk. He told of harsh 
deeds on the Main, of fights lost and won, and 
of nameless heroes who took counsel from the 
lonely valour of their hearts. He spoke of 
Manoa, the City of Gold, which God hath hid 
in the innermost hills of Guiana, till the gates 
fly open before the chosen knight. And through 
all ran the tale of the Spaniard, who hath turned 
an Eden into a desert. 'Twas a voice from 
another age, for he spoke of Spain as the mortal 
foe of England, while that night in every tavern 
men were debating whether the Princess Eliza- 
beth was to marry the Duke of Savoy's son. 

I noted that the Prince sat with wide-open 
eye, the colour mounting in his cheek as the 
tales grew brisk. At the end he sighed. 

" I have a fear," he said, " that the Golden 
Age is gone from England, and we have declined 


upon the days of little men. The one eagle that 
hath remained to us we keep close in a cage like 
good poultry-keepers." He looked at Raleigh, 
who avoided his gaze. 

When his gentlemen came to attend him, he 
took farewell with the air of a boy still dreaming. 
He paused by the table where stood his ship. 

"Ay, ay, good Prince /' he said. "You and 
I will never dip our flag to any cry of 
' Santiago.' " 

When he had gone, Sir Francis Bacon shook 
his head solemnly, yet with mirth in his face. 
" How can the persuasion of His Majesty's Coun- 
cillors anent the Spanish Marriage vie with a 
few old wives' tales and a toy ship ? ' 

I visited Sir Walter again on an afternoon in 
July, when he received me on the Terrace out- 
side his chambers. The Prince was with him, 
and their heads were close in their eager quest. 
Below the Terrace in the garden had stood a 
little hut of lath and plaster. The Lieutenant's 
lady had made it her hen-house, but now the 
fowls had flown, and Sir Walter had built a room 


of stout timber, where he experimented in the 
sciences. 'Twas like an alchemist's den, being 
heaped with strange simples and ores, and lined 
with alembics and crucibles and other vessels of 
the- craft. By its side was a furnace where he 
assayed metals. 

In the clear light of a summer day I could see 
writ on his face the ravages of time and the sick- 
ness of hope deferred. 'Twas nine years since 
first he had entered those walls, and every hour 
since he had struggled for liberty. The people 
had forgiven him his faults, if faults there were. 
To the commonalty he was one of the marvels of 
the City, a thing to point to their children and 
say : " There is the great Sir Walter Raleigh." 
But his deeds had been done so long ago that 
only the elder folk clearly remembered them. 
To the world he was like Tithonus, a human 
shadow mated with the bright Dawn of a 
memory. At Court, as I had heard, his name 
was still a lively offence to the King and to those 
of his Councillors who favoured a Spanish alliance. 
'Twas the very soul of irony that he should have 
been condemned for seeking the friendship of 

(1,662) 11 


Spain, and kept in durance because he was deemed 
Spain's chiefest enemy. But Her Majesty and 
the Prince of Wales were of a separate party and 
visited and comforted him, so that from this 
quarter his friends saw a sure hope of release. 

Sir Walter was ever a lover of dainty clothes, 
and when he wrought in his still-room put on an 
over-garment, like the smock of a peasant. He 
had some copper ore from Ireland and a packet 
of marquesite from Guiana, and while they melted 
in the furnace he showed his store of herbs and 

" There," said he, " is the sweetest balm on 
earth. It grows in the high mountains of India, 
where no man can reach it ; but the birds of the 
plains pluck it for their nests, and there the Indian 
seeks it. 'Tis Prester John's herb, and when 
distilled with cinnamon and crabs' claws is a 
sovereign cure for the falling sickness. I have 
but little left, for the ladies of the French King's 
Court have begged the most of it from me. A 
drop in a cup of wine will make a woman's eyes 
shine like the dew." 

Prince Henry asked concerning the Great 


Cordial, which had made Raleigh's name famous 
above all physicians. Its maker held it cheap. 

" "Tis but a distillation of sugar and saffron, 
half made from an old wife's receipt in Devon 
and half from a device of the Indians of Hispani- 
ola. Your quack will mumble charms over it 
and add noisome things to give it mystery, but 
'tis only an old wives' posset for the common 

Then the Prince, whose mind was ever on 
foreign voyages, fell to asking if Sir Walter in 
his travels had found no marvellous drugs among 
the people of the West. Raleigh shook his 

" They have the bark of a tree which cures 
fevers, but I have long finished my stock of it. 
The Indian lives simply, and does not suffer from 
our surfeits and frenzies. But I have heard of a 
potion which gives a sick man strength and like- 
wise the vision of the Blest." 

We were eager to hear of this, and he told us 
how a Captain in his Guiana voyage had been shot 
by a poisoned arrow so that he lay at the door of 
death. A priest had healed him of his wound. 


and given him a drug which strengthened him 
for travel. Then he had brought him to the 
top of a high mountain and had shown him a 
City of such golden beauty that the man's heart 
ever after was sick with longing.* 

" That was a wondrous potion," he said, " but 
I am in two minds about the City. Sometimes 
I think that the virtue was in the drug, which, 
like the Turkish poppy, clouded his brain into a 
fair dream. Yet when I remember the stalwart 
rough fellow who drank it, I can almost believe 
that the draught did no more than comfort the 
body, and that he saw in very truth the magical 

The Prince asked if the place were Manoa, of 
which he had read in Sir Walter's book on his 
Guiana voyage. 

" It may be Manoa, of which there is good 
proof from the witness of other travellers, besides 
the belief of all Indians. Or it may be a better 
than Manoa. Some day, if God wills, I may go 
and see." And he sighed. 

Prince Henry spoke quick and soft. " I have 

* See Chap. IV. 


news for you, Sir Walter. My father has 
promised me your release at Christmastide. He 
hath a plan for getting gold from the Indies, and 
he seeks your aid." 

The words were but half heard by me, but I 
noted the sudden flush on Raleigh's face. 

" If His Majesty fulfil the purpose of his great 
heart, he will find a devout servant. Nay, dear 
lad, we will travel together to the West in a new 
Prince, made on the model of your little ship. 
We will see together the great river Orinoko 
and the hills of El Dorado." 

" And the forests and the toothed serpents and 
the pine-apples," said the lad eagerly. " And 
we will talk with the Spaniard as Englishmen 
should. But 'tis an idle hope. I am tied by 
the heels, for my father says that it is not fitting 
that a Prince of Wales should go forth of the 
kingdom save in war." 

" War comes," said Raleigh, " and all its 
battles will be fought in the West. You will 
yet hear your guns, Harry, a-battering Porto 
Bello, as Francis Drake sought. You will see 
your own topsails shepherding the great galleons 


to English seas. Fear not, lad. 'Twill be 
a merry world when England takes the water 

We were now by the little furnace, watching 
the cup into which ran the molten metal. A 
thin bright trickle was crawling forth. 

"Look!" cried Sir Walter sharply. "There 
come the sinews of war. That is what all Eng- 
land will shout for City and Court alike. Mark 
you, that is Guiana ore. I call it marquesite, 
to ward off thieves, but 'twas brought me secretly 
by Keymis from a mine I know of. 'Tis no 
marquesite, but pure gold, and there is the proof 
of it." 

But the Prince had turned away. " Let 
us go back to the distillations," he said ; 
" I am mortally wearied with all this talk of 

My last visit was made on a dismal day of 
November, when I had come to town with a 
petition to my lord Arundel on a matter of 
fines and recoveries. I found Sir Walter alone 
in his chamber, shivering by the hearth with a 


fit of fever. Outside the wind howled from the 
river, and the Terrace was a field of withered 
leaves. To my eye he had suddenly gone grey 
and old, and I saw that he was bowed with a 
great sorrow. Then I remembered the mortal 
illness of the Prince. All London waited hourly 
on the tidings of his death. 

He gave me a wan greeting. " You find me 
in an ill hour, Master Richard," he said, " and 
my brain is too dull for converse. Sorrow rides 
the ass, says the proverb, prosperity the eagle. 
My wits go at an ass's pace these days, for I can 
endure my own ills, but my friends' woes make a 
woman of me." 

I asked if he had news of the Prince. 

" He enters the port of death. My own 
physician has seen him, and vouches that hope is 
over. 'Tis a malignant fever, of which no man 
knows the cause or cure. I sent him my choicest 
drugs, but they rallied him only for a moment. 
Had I seen the brave lad myself I might have 
read the riddle of his malady, but I am a prisoner 
convicted of high treason, and they would not 
bring me to him, though he cried for me." 


Sir Walter flung his furred robe from him and 
walked to the window. 

" 'Tis a fitting day for the passing of a king. 
Mark you, Harry would have made such a king 
as the great Elizabeth was queen. He would 
have purged the foul humours of the land, and 
set England once more on the path of honour. 
I fear the realm hath sinned too deep, and 
his God will take him from the wrath to 


I could say nothing but those Virgilian lines 
where the poet sorrows for the death of the 
young Marcellus. Raleigh spoke them after 

" He was a son to me, and the solace of my 
captivity, and some day he would have been the 
greatest king in Christendom. He loved all 
honest things. He was a ripe wit and scholar, 
a wise statesman, and a dreamer of high dreams." 
He murmured to himself that verse of Theocritus 
which in English runs thus : 

" But Daphnis went down the stream, and the whirl closed over 
the head of one most dear to the Muses and not hateful to the 


Then, remembering that I was soon to be in 
priest's orders, I endeavoured to comfort him 
with the consolations of religion. He heard me 
with a sad courtesy. 

" I bow to God's will, but submission will not 
chase away sorrow. I sorrow for myself, for I 
have now no good friend to bring me out of 
prison into the free air. But I sorrow most deeply 
for this realm of England. Nay, nay, Master 
Richard, I know what you would say. God 
will raise up another in His own good time, but 
for the present, as the Apostle saith, our case is 
not joyous but grievous." 

Suddenly he flung open the casement. On 
the heavy autumn air came the sound of the 
tolling of a bell. 'Twas the Great Bell of Paul's, 
which tolls only for a royal death. Then I 
knew that all was over. 

Raleigh stood silent for a little, his lips moving 
as if in prayer. Then he turned to me, and I 
saw that his mouth was firm again and his coun- 
tenance clear. 

" I weep not for the dead," he said. " The 
Prince is now sailing brighter seas than ours. 


To our business, Master Richard ! I am like 
to be many years in this place, and I must see 
to it that my time is well spent. Have you 
brought the digest of Suetonius I sought for 
my History? . . ." 

Chapter VIII. 

The worn ship reels ; but, still unfurled, 

Our tattered ensign flouts the skies ; 
And doomed to watch a little world 

Of petty men grown mean and wise, 
The old sea laughs for joy to find 

One purple folly left to her, 
When glimmers down the riotous wind 

The flag of the Adventurer." 

The Ship of Fools. 


Chapter VIII. 



The Triangle Islands, of the Coast of Guiana : 
December the Seventh, 1617. 

HPHIS is the first hour of leisure since we sailed 
from Cork, and I take my Diurnal to set 
down the chances of the voyage. Two days after 
Sir Walter came out of the Tower, he bade me 
go with him to the Abbey Church of Westmin- 
ster, and was eager to know the names of all the 
new houses which had been built during his cap- 
tivity. When we entered the Abbey doors he 
walked to the great new tomb of Queen Eliza- 
beth, and stood a time in thought. For long after 
he was sunk in melancholy, and spoke no word till 
he had come to my lodging in Chancery Lane. 

* From the Diurnal of Captain Thomas Keymis, of the ship Centaur; 
preserved among the papers of the Fynes family. 


" 'Tis the first venture," he said, " that I have 
made without the patent of my incomparable 
mistress. Times have changed in the land, and 
we sail on a desperate enterprise, with ill-wishers 
behind and an enemy forewarned before. I have 
written so much of late that I would fain rest 
from it ; and, moreover, I will have much ado 
to rule the fleet. I pray you, Thomas, set out 
in writing all that befalls us, that it may be a 
record for those who come after me." So I take 
up my pen at my Admiral's command. 

For near a year we were hard at work building 
ships and getting money. Sir Walter came out of 
his prison in March, and 'twas not till December 
that his new flagship, the Destiny, was launched 
from the slips of Master Phineas Pett. We had 
had trouble with our adventurers, scapegraces of 
honest houses whom their kinsfolk would have 
despatched with us to save from the gallows. 
Of gentlemen volunteers we had a better brand, 
for with us sailed Sir Warham St. Leger, and 
Master George Raleigh, Sir Walter's nephew, 
and certain gentlemen of the Pembroke and 
Huntingdon families. There was trouble, too, 


over the Admiral's commission, and his pardon 
was misdoubted by his friends. There were 
those who said that the King wished no more 
than to get Sir Walter into fresh mischances, 
that he might use his life as a bait for Spanish 
friendship. Spain's Ambassador, Don Diego, 
wrought day and night to frustrate our plans, 
and thought by offering a safe conduct for two 
ships to persuade us ancient sailors to put our 
heads in the lion's jaws. There were many said 
that Sir Walter only waited on the chance to 
turn pirate, and, once forth of the kingdom, 
would never show face again. But why set 
down the follies of his slanderers ? All who had 
served under the great Captain knew the honour 
of his heart and his fearless bravery. Well we 
knew that he would return, though all Spain, and 
Hell, and every knave in England waited with 
open mouth to rend him. Knowing this, we 
had long thoughts of what might befall if the 
gold failed and the Spaniard met us with a 
superior force. But Sir Walter himself soon 
cast out these fears. In truth, he was drunk 
with freedom. His thoughts flew as happily 


to the sea and the West as a young maid's to 
her lover. 

We were a motley company, for besides the 
adventurers I have spoke of, some of whom 
could not be denied from coming, we had among 
the crews many very perfect rascals, both French 
and English. In these days 'tis hard to get good 
mariners in England, for, owing to our lethargy 
on the sea, the stiff sailor-breed hath decayed, 
and those who once sought for El Dorado now 
seek only for pilchards. Nevertheless, some of 
our captains were true men, and there were some 
in the ships who had served aforetime with Sir 
Walter, and now dragged their legs from their 
firesides to share in his new venture. Knowing 
the nature of the crews, the Admiral published 
orders to discipline his thirteen ships and thousand 
men. He forbade all swearing, dicing, and card- 
playing, and promised to hang any man, gentle 
or simple, who should play the common pirate 
and conduct himself frowardly towards the Indians. 
To ensure that devoutness, without which great 
enterprises perish untimely, he had a reading of 
the Scriptures and prayers said night and morning. 


We were royally feasted by Master Trelawny, 
Mayor of Plymouth, and the town drums beat 
our company aboard. Then came foul weather, 
and after being forced back twice to port, we 
anchored in Ireland in the Bay of Kinsale. Here 
of old Sir Walter had campaigned, and his friends 
flocked to greet him. My lord Boyle flung open 
to us his great house in Cork, and for six weeks 
we abode there, repairing the damage to our 
ships and victualling for the ocean. I will record 
a conversation with my lord Boyle, on a day 
when we went out from the town to fly hawks 
a great sport of the Irish gentlemen. He 
examined me as to Sir Walter's standing with 
the law, and I told him my doubts. He whistled 
and pulled down his brows. 

" 'Tis an ill trick," he said, " to set a gentleman 
playing with the dice loaded against him. It looks 
as if His Majesty were spinning a crown with Sir 
Walter, and crying for one face c I win,' and for 
the other ' You lose.' If I were your Admiral, 
Captain Keymis, I would think twice before I 
ventured back to my native land. Unless he get 
gold enough to make it worth the King's while 


to pardon him, he will be held scapegoat for 
every blunder in the last ten years. I hear he 
holds the King of France's commission. Let him 
take foreign service, as other honest men have 
done before him. I have risked money in the 
Guiana venture, but I would lose my share a 
thousand times ere I would see Sir Walter come 
to hurt." 

I have treasured these words in my mind, but 
I have not yet found an occasion to tell the 

From Cork we sailed south to the Grand 
Canaries, and had sore trouble on the road with 
Cyrus Bayley, of the ship Southampton^ who seized 
four French vessels, and would have plundered 
them. But the Admiral sternly forbade him, 
and bought from the Frenchmen what we needed 
for the price of sixty-one crowns. This Bayley 
was a violent, lying fellow, who deserted us at 
Lancerote, and went home to spread the report 
that the man who had restrained him from piracy 
was himself a pirate. 

In November we came to the shore of Guiana 
and the mouth of the river Caliana. Affliction 


had pursued us over the ocean, and in the 
Admiral's flagship over forty-two men had died, 
including our best land-general, Captain Piggott ; 
our only refiner of metals ; and that renowned 
scholar Master John Talbot. Sir Walter himself 
was sick of a fever for a full month, and would 
doubtless have died but for the fruit we had 
shipped in the Canaries. 'Twas a voyage of 
strange portents. For five days we sailed through 
a hot tawny mist, and off the isle of Trinidad we 
witnessed a flight of fifteen rainbows, at which the 
crews were put in a mortal fear. The Admiral's 
sickness had set up mischief among the men, so 
that they wrangled without end and took ill to 
their duties. But now the portents we had seen 
brought a fit of piety, and they would attend the 
reading of prayers like choir-boys. I, who have 
all my life sailed the seas, rate our crews but 
lowly. They have not the spirit of those who 
sailed with us of old, neither as seamen nor as 
adventurers, being such as think more of pay 
than of extending the realm of England. The 
soldiers, two hundred and more, are of better 
stock, and our gentlemen are of good blood and 

(1,562) 12 


high courage. God send we do not find a task 
too hard for our strength, for we have much 
rotten metal which will snap on the strain. 

We lay in the bay of the Caliana for three 
weeks, till the health of our ship's companies 
mended. The younger men were eager to land, 
looking to see gold in every rock and an Indian 
or a Spanish captain behind every tree. The first 
to visit us was Sir Walter's Indian, whom he 
called Harry, and who had been with him some 
time in the Tower. He was a chief in the 
neighbourhood, and brought a great gift of new 
bread, venison, and all manner of fruits, which 
revived our wasted appetites. We hailed a Dutch 
vessel that passed by us, and by good fortune were 
thus enabled to send home those the sickest among 
us, including Captain Peter Alley, who since we 
left Kinsale has never moved his head from a 
deadly vertigo. . . . 

The expedition to the Mine has now been 
determined on. The Admiral is still so weak 
that he can scarce walk unaided ; at any time 
the wind blows from the land his fever rages. 
Beside, there is the peril of the Spanish fleet, 


which we hear has been despatched from Cadiz : 
and the Captains are unwilling to venture up the 
Orinoko unless he remain to guard the river 
mouth. The Lieutenant -General, Sir Warham 
St. Leger, is also sick of a dropsy, so it is resolved 
that both he and the Admiral shall wait behind 
with the heavy vessels to keep watch in the rear 
of the expedition. It is further resolved to take 
the five ships of least draught, and embark in 
them a force of four hundred sailors and soldiers. 
These five ships are to be commanded by Captains 
Whitney, King, Smith, Wollaston, and Hall. Cap- 
tain George Raleigh, the Admiral's nephew, leads 
the land force, and to myself is intrusted the 
search for the Mine. . . . 

I am burdened with the cares of my charge, 
and yet I am in good hope of a fortunate issue. 
When I landed first in Guiana there were no 
Spaniards on the river bank. But now a new 
city hath been built, San Thome by name, 
which stands where the river Caroni enters the 
Orinoko. Of this project I heard when I jour- 
neyed thither in the year 1596, the year after 
Sir Walter's visit. But the Mine which had then 


been showed me by the Indians is thirty miles 
and more down stream, and but eight miles from 
the Orinoko bank, on a lesser river by name the 
Cumaca, and close against the mountain Iconuri. 
I have little fear of a Spanish attack, unless news 
sent from Madrid has caused them to guard all the 
waterways of the country. Sir Walter is earnest 
with me, for a good reason which I can well 
perceive, not to engage with the Spaniards save in 
the last extremity. He bade me camp between 
the Mine and San Thome, so that the soldiers 
could cover the vessels in the case of a sally 
from the town. He warned me expressly to risk 
no pitched battle with the Spaniards. " For, 
Thomas," he said, " a few gentlemen excepted, 
what a scum of men you have ! And I would 
not, for all the world, receive a blow from the 
Spanish to the dishonour of our nation." . . . 

To-morrow at dawn we start, and Sir Walter 
hath given me his last commands. He bade me 
remember that his nephew, Captain George, was 
but a young man, and that he relied on my 
judgment. " You will find me," he said, " at 
Punto Gallo, dead or alive. And if you find not 


my ships there, you will find their ashes. For 
I will fire with the Galleons, if it come to ex- 
tremity. But run I will never." . . . 

The City of San Thome. January the Ninth, 1618. 

I resume my Diurnal, but in dire despair and 
black sorrow. JFor the worst of all mischances 
has overtaken us. We have fought a bloody 
battle with the Spaniard. We cannot come near 
the Mine for the strength of our enemies. And 
young Walter Raleigh, the Admiral's son, is dead. 

I have little heart for the tale of our ill- 
success. From the first I might have guessed 
that we were dedicate to misfortune, for all our 
five ships were foundered in the channels of the 
Orinoko, and 'twas three weeks ere we came 
together again and reached the plain country 
where the Indians dwell. The first news we 
had of the Spaniard was from an Indian of Assa- 
pana, who told us that a new Governor, one 
Diego de Acuna, had come post-haste from Spain. 
The name was that of the Spanish envoy in 
London, and I feared that it boded small good. 
Guns were fired on the banks several days at night- 


fall, but they did us no harm, and we believed 
them the work of forest Indians, who were ever ill- 
disposed. On New Year's eve, as I made my 
reckoning, we were near the mouth of the stream 
Cumaca, on which stood the Mine, and it was 
our purpose to sail all night, and in the morning 
of the New Year to land on the right bank of 
the Orinoko, some fifteen miles, as we thought, 
short of San Thome. But 'twas here we griev- 
ously erred. For, though 'twas unknown to me, 
the city had been transferred down the river to 
the mouth of the Cumaca, and we sailed past its 
forts unwittingly in the darkness. Thereby we 
suffered the Spaniard to cut us off from the 
Admiral, and nothing remained but to fight. 

We landed next morning and formed a camp, 
and that evening about nine we were ambuscaded 
by the Spanish and thrown into confusion. 
Nay, we had all been broken to pieces, had not 
some twenty of our gentlemen rallied and made 
a great stand. We drove the ambuscaders to- 
wards the town, of whose correct situation we 
were now but too well informed, and there by 
the walls we found the whole Spanish force 


drawn up to greet us. Young Walter Raleigh 
led the pikemen, and behind were the musketeers 
under Captain George. Now it is a rule of war- 
fare that the men with guns should precede those 
with cold iron, that the shots may weaken the 
enemy before the pikes complete his destruction. 
But on this occasion all rules were forgotten, and 
we thought only of how quickest to drive the 
Spaniard out of the country. Around the town 
was a savannah, and in the moonlight we could 
see the steel headpieces of the Spanish gleaming 
above the high grass. Young Walter cried out 
at the sight. " Come on, my stout hearts ! ' he 
cried ; " these be they who would bar England 
from the West." 

Then I know not what happened, for I was 
with Captain George and the musketeers. I 
was told that the brave lad engaged the whole 
Spanish line, and fell with a dozen lance wounds 
in his breast. His last words were, " On, sweet 
lads ! Lord ha' mercy on me, and prosper your 
enterprise ! ' When the pikemen saw him dead 
they were maddened to fury, and ere the mus- 
keteers joined them had overthrown the Spanish 


army. They slaughtered grimly and quietly, 
and Captain Cosmor with his own hand killed 
the Spanish Governor. Some fled into the 
town to the Monastery of Saint Francis, and 
these we slew, till by daylight there were no 
fighting men alive save such as had fled in boats 
to the river island of La Ceyva. 

My first thought was joy, for I perceived that 
we had taken the chief Spanish fort in the coun- 
tryside. But next day, when I had taken counsel 
of Captain George, my mind changed to a great 
gloom. For there were we embroiled with 
Spain before we had proved the Mine, and if we 
failed in the latter enterprise we should be held 
no better than pirates. Above all, we had lost the 
Admiral's son, who was a most noble and gallant 
youth and the apple of his father's eye. My despair 
was increased when I found a parcel of papers in 
the Governor's house, and among them the plans 
of our voyage, which had been sent by King James 
to the King of Spain. Then I perceived very 
clearly that the words of my lord Boyle were true, 
and that, whatever befell, in England we should 
be accounted malefactors. What profit would be 


a basket or two of rich ore when we were a 
foredoomed sacrifice to ensure Spanish friend- 
ship ? 

We buried young Walter near the high altar 
in the church of San Thome, and in the same 
grave laid Captain Cosmor him who had slain 
the Governor and had fallen later from a chance 
musket shot. Then I sat down and wrote a 
letter to the Admiral at Punto Gallo, setting 
forth my sad intelligence, and likewise for- 
warding to him the papers I had found in San 
Thome. . . . 

Meantime we are suffering much from sick- 
ness and famine. The Spaniards hold all the 
neighbourhood, and from the isle of La Ceyva 
they send out expeditions which cut off any 
Englishman who ventures abroad. The rabble 
of our men are ill-disposed, and but for the 
compulsion of the gentlemen among us would 
flee down the river or submit to the enemy. 
Would to God we had a hundred of the stout 
Devon lads who sailed with us twenty years past ! 
Our single slender hope is the Mine, and I know 
not how to get to it. ... 


"January the Seventeenth. 

Our case grows daily more desperate. Seven 
days ago I equipped two boats, and with Sir 
John Hampden and a matter of forty soldiers and 
miners, set out up the river Cumaca for the 
Mine of which I knew. Our men were in bad 
heart, for they saw a Spaniard behind every bush, 
and were weak with the heat and the low feed- 
ing and the rotten water. When I had travelled 
this way before, it had been through friendly 
country where no ambuscade was feared, there- 
fore I had not marked the land with the care 
which a soldier gives to a hostile territory. I 
purposed to keep to the river till the Mine was 
reached, and then fortify a camp to dig for ore. 
By starting in the dusk of early morning I 
thought that we should escape the notice of the 
Spanish on the isle of La Ceyva. 

But some traitor had told our plans, and ere 
we reached the isle their boats ran out from the 
shore and opened a brisk fire so that nine of 
those in the first of our boats were wounded or 
slain outright. At this they fell into a panic, 


and cried to be led back ; and as we had no guess 
at the number of the foe, myself and Sir John 
resolved to return to the town for a larger force. 
But when we with difficulty reached San Thome, 
Captain George Raleigh was urgent with us to 
let the project sleep. I laboured to make him 
understand that in the Mine lay our sole chance 
of salvation. He replied that, having fallen out 
with Spain, there was no hope of mining, but 
the most we could do was to push on up the 
Orinoko to get Indian allies. 

He left me yesterday, taking all the boats and 
a hundred men. So low have we fallen from 
death and the taking of prisoners, that I have 
scarce a hundred remaining to hold the town. I 
dare not leave the walls, for we are hourly 
attacked, and since many of our fellows are light- 
headed from sickness and stray beyond the de- 
fences we lose men at every assault. God help 
the poor souls who fall into Spanish hands, for 
they will suffer the torture which I have seen long 
ago on the Main ! I have warned them of these 
terrors, but the most be such scum that they can- 
not of their own will choose a manly death. . . . 


February the Tenth. 

Yesterday Captain George returned down the 
river, with no news save that ten of his men 
were dead of fever. It seems that the chief, 
Topiawari, who loved Sir Walter, is long dead, 
and the people so reduced by war that they can 
show no force against the Spaniard. We in the 
town have suffered in the meantime more than 
flesh can bear. No man dared sleep, for at 
all hours our enemies beset us. They made a 
cross in the sight of the walls and crucified 
thereon two of our sailors, so that we were beside 
ourselves with panic and sick with fury. We 
could not attack them, for they were everywhere 
in the savannah, lurking among trees and holes ; 
but our weak defence was but too easy a target 
for their enterprise. By God's grace we have 
held the city, but I have now scarce ninety men, 
and these the weakest and most knavish of the 
crews. . . . 

We have held a council, and are of a mind 
to return. Captain George says he cannot hold 
his men, and Lord knows my fellows would break 


at the first chance. I am tormented by thoughts 
of the Mine, for from my window I can see the 
Mount Iconuri as near as Richmond Hill to 
Wapping. I need but a basketful of ore to give 
a colour to our honesty ; but 'tis as remote as 
if 'twere Manoa itself. We are resolved to fire 
the town, and, carrying what spoil we have got, 
to hasten down the river to the ships at Punto 
Gallo. Even now we are piling grass and pre- 
paring torches. I know not how to face my 
Admiral, whom I fear I have foully betrayed. 
Yet I have done my utmost, though the issue is 
vanity. Would to God I had laid my bones by 
young Walter, for I foresee no peace for me on 
earth. . . . 

Off Punto Gallo in the Isle of Trinidad. March 

the Third. 

I am an old voyager, but I think my ventures 
are over. Yesterday at nightfall we reached the 
Admiral's ship, and found Sir Walter so aged by 
fever and sorrow for his son that I had scarcely 
known him. There were black looks and bitter 
words as I went on board the Destiny^ for the 


tale of my failure had spread, and all men blamed 
me as the author of the expedition and its chief 
destroyer. Little I cared so long as I had the 
heart of my master. But Sir Walter received 
me with strange glances and a face of death. 

" Where is the gold," he says, " with the 
promise of which I have bought my life ? Where 
is the gold you boasted of, Thomas ? ' 

I stammered my tale, but he scarce listened. 

" 'Twas fairy gold," he said, with dreamy 
eyes. " We have both been to the rainbow's 
end, I fear. But I trusted in you, Thomas, and 
now there is no salvation. Cerberus with a 
hundred heads waits me, and I have nothing to 
stop his mouth." 

All this he said so gently that it broke my 
heart. I fell to weeping, and dropped on my 
knees by his feet. When I looked up his face 
had turned to wrath. 

" You let my son be slain," he said. " After 
that, what mattered it how many fell ? Though 
it had cost you a hundred men to take the Mine, 
'twas your plain business. Make me no excuses, 
Captain Keymis. You have failed miserably in 


your duty, and must now answer to His Majesty 
and the Council. God wots I have enough on 
my shoulders without taking the burden of your 
cowardice. . . ." 

I came back to my cabin with a dizzy head. 
I prayed that his anger would last, for 'twas less 
terrible than his sorrow. All evening I sat 
writing a letter to my lord Arundel, setting forth 
my case, for he was a chief promoter of the 
Expedition. Food I have not eaten for three 
days, but I thirst exceedingly. . . . 

This morning I have taken the letter to the 
Admiral to seek his approval. But he would 
have none of it. " I pardon all things," he said, 
" to him who serves faithfully ; but you have 
betrayed me. You must bear the burden of your 
treason alone, for I will have no share in it." 
Then he turned away, and when I asked if this 
were his fixed resolution, he said he should have 
no other. 

Then my mind filled with a great clearness. I 
saw that I had erred, and that in a desperate 
venture I had been too little desperate. I thanked 
God for his anger, which was merciful and right, 


for had he been kind and sorrowful I should have 
been tortured beyond human bearing. I told 
him that I saw my folly, and knew what course 
to take. " I have sinned," I said, " and welcome 
my punishment. But I claim a boon for old 
fellowship's sake. Grant me your forgiveness, 
that I sleep easy." 

" I forgive you," he said in a weary voice. " I 
cannot cherish resentment, for I have no heart 

left in me." 

# # * # # 

I am lodged in my former cabin in the Destiny. 
Above my couch there hangs a picture of the 
Magdalen which Sir Walter gave me, for he 
loved to take pictures with him on his voyages. 
Even as Christ was merciful to that sinner, so I 
pray now His mercy on me. 

There is no other way of it. I must run to 
port. If I die all men will blame me, and haply 
some of the load will shift from Sir Walter's 
shoulders ; whereas if I live and return to England, 
I will but confuse matters ; for I have a foolish 
tongue and small discretion, as was seen long ago 
in Lord Cobham's business. I am an old hulk, 


now these fifty years at sea, and 'tis time I found 
a haven. 

I write these words more especially for the eye 
of Sir Walter, who will find them at my death. 
I have followed him through good and evil for- 
tune ; and now, to my grief, am the innocent 
cause of his undoing. God made me a frail man, 
full of fancies and prone to foolish confidence. 
But I have ever been loyal in heart to the greatest 
Captain I ever served, and I ask no boon of 
God but that He deliver him from his dis- 
tresses, and forgive the manner of my death, 
seeing that my purpose is honest. I have no 
kith nor kin. For my fame I care not, but I 
would pray Sir Walter to think of me as I was 
in the days when we first adventured in Guiana. 
I say no more. Last year's nest is empty, as the 
Spaniards say. . . . 

Lest any man be suspect, I write that I die 
by my own hand by pistol, if the powder be not 
damp, or by my Turk's dagger. The pistol Sir 
Walter gave to me long ago. . . . 

(1,562) 13 

Chapter IX. 

" Go, Soul, the body's guest, 

Upon a thankless errand : 
Fear not to touch the best ; 

The truth shall be thy warrant : 
Go, since I needs must die, 
And give the world the lie. 

Tell men of high condition, 

That manage the estate, 
Their purpose is ambition, 

Their practice only hate : 
And if they once reply, 
Then give them all the lie. 

. . . 

Tell fortune of her blindness ; 

Tell nature of decay ; 
Tell friendship of unkindness ; 

Tell justice of delay : 
And if they will reply, 
Then give them all the lie." 


~ > x Wi.'-AS;.^ "*<*' < 

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f~> ' f NO 


Chapter IX. 



. . . T HAVE never seen such a crew of pitiful 
mean rascals. The most had the visages 
of dockyard rats, and souls as ill-favoured as their 
skins. They had come out for lust of gold, and 
thought only that their pockets were empty, 
though God knows 'twas their own cowardly 
and rebellious spirits that made them so. I mind 
when we lay at Punto Gallo there was a page- 
boy spread a tale that Sir Walter's cabin was 
full of money. Presently some of my fine gallows- 
birds conspired to set the Admiral ashore and sail 
off with his flagship and his treasure ; and, being 
of so weak a spirit, came crawling to me to seek 
my leadership. I drew my sword, and with the 

* From the notes of the Frenchman, Jacques Pommerol, who afterwards 
forsook the sea, settled at Louvaine, and wrote an epic in the classic manner 
on his adventures, which he called the Jacquesiade. 


flat of it gave them a mighty lesson, and then 
with the point of it drove them forthwith to the 
Admiral, and discovered to him their treason. 
Figure to yourself the situation of a gentleman 
in such knavish company ! 

You must know that, with Captain Keymis 
dead and half our force destroyed, we had given 
up hope of success in Guiana, though the Admiral 
was still hot for a return to San Thome, whence 
he promised to bring a load of gold or leave his 
body by his son's. His captains looked coldly 
at the project, and some of the baser sort were all 
for remaining in the islands, and overhauling 
Spanish ships from the Main. Piracy is but a 
dirty trade, but I held this to be no piracy but 
lawful war, seeing that Spain has ever treated all 
English voyagers as trespassers worthy of a felon's 
death. 'Tis idle, I held, to prate of peace when 
there is no peace, and in the Indian Seas there is 
never aught but war. Had I followed my own 
will I would have favoured this enterprise, but 
Sir Walter was set against it, and I had no mind 
to cross his purpose. So I opposed the designs 
of the captains, and warned the Admiral that 


mutiny was in the air. But the boldest com- 
mander on earth cannot hold a flotilla of rebels, 
and at the isle of Granada the captains Whitney 
and Wollaston sailed away on their own errands. 
I have heard no more of them. I trust their 
traitorous bodies have long ago decked a gibbet 
at Cartagena. 

We purposed at first to make Sir Walter's 
colony of Virginia, to victual our ships and rest 
our men, with the notion of seeking Guiana 
again next year. But the temper of the crews 
was such that, had we landed at Virginia, they 
would have fled to the woods or joined the cor- 
sarios that frequent these coasts. Presently Sir 
Walter, whose mind moved slow from his great 
sorrow, came round to another opinion, and at a 
council of war which I attended as chief of the 
soldiers during Captain George Raleigh's illness 
it was resolved to sail for home. We stayed 
awhile at St. Christopher's Island, while the 
Admiral wrote letters to the King. These he 
sent home in his fly-boat by means of his cousin, 
Master Herbert, and with him he despatched the 
idlest and most rebellious of the crews. Had I 


been Master Herbert I would have feared for my 
throat in the company of such a rabble. But it 
seems that God favoured gallantry, for I have 
heard that he reached England in safety. 

You must know that we hourly expected news 
of the Spanish galleons, which had been sent out 
to take us captive. Our captains were in great 
terror of falling into their hands, for they had 
some knowledge of the tender mercies of Spain, 
and we had no more than four ships. Had we 
sailed the straight course for home, it was feared 
we should meet with this fleet or other Spanish 
ships of war, and we were in no mettle for fight- 
ing. Sir Walter advised that we make our 
course due north by the isle called New Found 
Land, from which there is a way to England 
over a narrower ocean. When we sailed from 
St. Christopher's our fleet was the Admiral's 
Destiny, on which I sailed with the best part of 
the fighting men, while Sir John Ferme, Captain 
Pennington, and Captain King had the other 
ships in charge. I thought ill of these captains, 
save only King, who was an old lieutenant of Sir 
Walter's and a stubborn, honest, rough fellow. 


We saw little of our consorts, for off the coasts 
of Virginia we came into a nest of storms, and 
were sore delayed for more than a fortnight. 
By the first days of May we were well into the 
northern seas, where the winds cut like sword- 
blades and the mist would wrap us round in chilly 
garments. Those who had sailed this way before 
were in mortal fear of floating ice, which comes 
down from the Pole, and has wrecked ere this 
many a goodly ship. Half of us were ill of the 
scurvy, and, though the sharp air had cured us of 
the common fever, we were taken with fits of 
ague and rheum so that scarce one man was free 
of sickness. In my day I have seen many com- 
panies of broken men, but never have I beheld a 
crew so desponding and weary as sailed with us 
those wintry waters. Ill-fortune takes the steel 
from a man's heart, and that rabble of ours were 
but yeast and mire. First they moped and 
despaired, and then they threatened, so that soon 
every man had a dark countenance and murder 
in his eyes. Meantime in his own cabin the 
Admiral sat alone with his grievous thoughts. 

One day I sought him and bade him be wary. 




" There are those here," I said, " who bear you 
little love. You may find a knife in your back 
some fine morning." 

'Twould be welcome," he said wearily. 
Do you think I have any room left for fear, 
when I have buried my all ? As well a ship- 
man's knife as any other ending." 

" Nevertheless you are our Captain," said I, 
" and if you fall 'twill go hard with my honest self 
and a score of lads who trust their lives to me." 

" Then take the lead," he answered. " I am 
no better than a passenger. Sail where you 
please, my good Jacques, so long as you leave me 
alone." And he turned wearily away. 

The Admiral had long cast a spell over me, so 
that I loved and reverenced him. But now 
God's hand was heavy upon him, and I was fain 
to ease his burden. With his consent. I took 
upon myself the captaincy, and I promise you I 
brought that rabble into some order. There 
were twenty lads who had fought by my side in 
the Low Countries, and with their aid I kept a 
fair discipline. I could see anger and scowling 
wherever I went, till soon I fancied that a sea- 


man's knife was more likely to find my back than 
Sir Walter's. 

One night as I sat alone at supper for Captain 
George was still sick, and Sir Walter supped alone 
a page-boy came down the ladder as though the 
Devil were at his heels. He bumped heavily on 
the floor, and when I picked him up showed a 
face like a dish-clout. 

" Mutiny ! ' he cries. " They are cutting 
throats in the fo'c's'le. The men have got at the 
muskets, and are fighting for the powder-barrels." 

It took me no longer than a breath to spring up 
the ladder and run down the deck to the forepart 
of the ship. We were rolling heavily, and I near 
broke my head on the bulwarks. I heard no 
shots, but from the fo'c's'le came the murmur of 
men in close and deadly conflict. I had rather 
hear a yelling like wild cats than that desperate 

A fellow had been set with a musket to guard 
the fo'c's'le ladder. There was but the one thing 
to do. I jumped clean down the steps, alighting 
plump on his shoulders, and knocking man and 
musket endways. In a second I was on my feet, 


roaring to the dogs to lay down their arms. I 
saw what I had feared. Some half-dozen of my 
lads were pinned in a corner where a door led to 
the powder store, and against them was a great 
press of seamen fighting desperately with dirks to 
win an entrance. 

My shouts won a moment's respite. A dozen 
faces turned on me, their eyes bright with panic 
and murder. Then I reflected that I had no sort 
of arms. 

"Every dog to his place !" I roared. "I have 
a gunner now standing by the powder. In 
three minutes, if I forbid him not, he will 
blow this ship and all in it to the skies. I 
care little for death, but the sight of you will 
cheer the Devil." 

They believed me, or at any rate the resolution 
in my voice awed them. The press slackened, 
and I tore men out of it till my fellows could 
breathe. Help was on the way, for I saw the 
ladder-hole filling with my men-at-arms. I was 
half stifled, but by dint of much buffeting I got 
the mob separated, and presently had the muskets 
and knives from their hands. 


The worst I had pinioned and set soldiers to 
guard them. 

" Now," said I, " I am about to hold an 
inquisition. You will assemble on deck, and I 
will have the truth of this conduct." 

I had them drawn up by the foremast, the 
leaders in my soldiers' charge, and the others, a 
sullen crowd, huddled against the bulwarks. A 
pale moon shone from a watery sky, and ever 
and anon a wrack of cloud would darken the 
heavens. A lantern swung from a nail on the 
mast, flickering with every gust. I sat down 
on a barrel with a pistol on my knees. " Now 
for the meaning of this treason," said I. 

At first no man spoke. Then, when I promised 
hanging, a fellow found his voice. He had an 
honest, foolish face, and I had marvelled to find 
him in the business. 

" We fear to go back," he said gruffly. " Some 
of us have fallen out with the law, and if 
we land in England will march straight to the 

" Ay, I can well believe it," I said. " And to 
your former ill deeds you have added mutiny on 


the high seas, for which hanging is too easy a 

The fellow was still resolute. " We came out 
to Guiana in hope of gold, and gold meant par- 
don. But we have no gold, so we look to save 
our necks. It is but human nature, master." 

" How many of you be gallows-birds ? ' I 

It seemed there was a round dozen, and their 
crimes were pitifully small. One had stolen 
beyond the value of forty shillings. Another 
had lain in Exeter jail for cattle-lifting, and had 
broken prison the night before his hanging. One 
had fired the stacks of an enemy ; one had slain 
an innkeeper in a brawl ; while still another had 
beaten a King's Justice for old scores. My heart 
warmed to such trivial malefactors. 

" If that be your grievance, lads," I said, " I 
can promise that it will be mended. The Ad- 
miral will land you in Ireland, that you may be 
out of the King's danger. I have no love for 
the laws that oppress the poor and let the rich 
go free. Keep your minds easy. But, touching 
this late conduct of yours, you will go on bread 


and water for five days. And those who incited 
it will have twenty lashes apiece. To your 
quarters ! >: 

But no man moved, and I could see by their 
eyes 'twas no common mutiny. The same fellow 
spake again : 

"Your pardon, sir, but we have not showed 
all that is in our hearts. We would save our 
own necks, but there is another neck in deadly 
peril. Whatever our danger from the law, the 
Admiral's is tenfold greater ; at least so folks say. 
He is going home to death. We would restrain 
him, master." 

Then I cursed them roundly, for venturing to 
lay their idle tongues to Sir Walter's name. I 
banned them up and down the skies for presum- 
ing to interfere with their betters. But the same 
thought had always been in my own head, and I 
was amazed to find so much reason in the swabs. 

The man never winced, but looked at me with 
honest, dog-like eyes. 

" Presumption or no, master, it is death for 
Sir Walter, and we of this ship would save him. 
We know him for a good captain, and would 


plead with him and keep him out of England 
He hath many crows to pluck with the Dons, 
and here is the whole ocean for the plucking. 
We think as how he can serve England better by 
keeping the high seas than by putting his neck 
under the King's girdle." 

I told them I had heard enough, and sent them 
packing. But the fear of those tarry-souled 
knaves had infected my own thoughts. I went 
to Sir Walter's cabin, but found him asleep. As 
I knew that of late he had slept little, I had not 
the heart to wake him, but retired to my own 
quarters and meditated till the small hours. 

Next morning we were come into a pleasant 
sea, with the sun shining and a favouring west 
wind. I went to the Admiral and found him on 
deck sniffing the breeze the first time for days 
that he had been forth of his cabin. He faced 
me with a brisker countenance and gave me a 
cheerful good-morning. 

" Last night I slept," he said. " For a little I 
contrived to forget, and this morning I am the 
better for it. You look grey about the eyelids s 
Master Jacques." 


" I have cause," said I. " Last night, while 
you slept, I was quelling a mutiny. . . . Nay, 
nay, sir, do not mistake. I have no hurts. 
'Twas an innocent and weakly rising. We carry 
some gallows-birds aboard, and they feared to land 
in England. In your name I promised them 
the boon of Irish soil. But they pled for more 
than themselves, for there is a kind of decency in 
the rascals. They are mortally concerned about 
their Admiral's fate." 

Raleigh looked far out to sea. " There is a 
magnanimity about salt water," he said. " It 
tinctures very sorry knaves with kindliness. And 
what would they have me do ? ' 

" Like them, evade England. I think they 
would have you turn pirate, that you may get 
back from the galleons something of what Spain 
has cost you." 

" And your thoughts, good Jacques ? ' he 

" Oh, as for me, I think piracy a sorry trade, 
but under your flag 'twould be fair and equal 
war. I have pondered the matter during the 
night watches, and this is my counsel. You are 


too great a leader to waste on the scurvy tribe of 
your ill-wishers. You hold the commission of 
my good master, the King of France. I will 
steer you to a French port, where you will be 
nobly welcome. A way will be found to repay 
all who have embarked their substance in this 
venture. Then, sir, you and I will take the sea 
in a King's ship, and with us will go the best 
blood of France and England. 'Fore God, we 
will harry Spain till no galleon dare put its nose 
outside Cadiz Bay." 

" And this is your considered counsel, Master 
Jacques ? ' he asked. 

" My considered counsel, sir," I said. 

He walked a few paces up the deck, his chin 
on his breast. Then he laid an arm about my 

" Tis not mine," he said. " You tempt me, 
good friend, but more by your loyalty than your 
designs. 'Twould be a heartsome task to sail the 
seas with you and twenty honest gentlemen. I 
am not so old but my blood stirs at the thought. 
We should make a gallant company, Master 
Jacques you and nephew George, and Jack 


Carew, and a dozen of your Breton sea-dogs. We 
should harry the Dons and be outlawed by every 
Court in Europe. Nay, we might restore that 
old warfare between Spain and England, without 
which there can be no lasting peace. But 'tis a 
boy's dream. For, mark you, I have left some- 
thing very precious behind me in England which 
I must ransom." 

I looked my bewilderment. 

" My good fame," he said. " I have ever 
faced my destiny. You would not have me run 
from it at the last. Look you, I have stood 
before all England for something which is half 
forgotten. I have preached the Gospel of an 
Ocean empire and of plantations in the West. 
I have urged that if England is to stand high in 
Europe she must fight her battles overseas. Of 
late few have heeded me. I was like an owl 
hooting in the churchyard among things dead 
and moss-grown. But this expedition hath 
wrought a change. The eyes of England 
are again upon me. Had I won, the King 
and his Council would have swung round with 
the new tide. But I have failed, you say. 

(1,662) U 


Ay, but there is hope for my gospel, if none 
for me." 

I began to see light in his argument. 

"What would become of it," he asked, "if I 
fled the land ? ' Raleigh,' all would say, c is 
turned pirate and Frenchman.' They would not 
blame me, but to England I would be as dead. 
I would have shrunk from my last duty, and 
God does not prosper a coward." 

" But, sir," I said, " if they slay you, what 
becomes of your high plans ? ' 

He smiled in his odd, subtle way, his eyes 
looking far into some untravelled country. 

" They will flourish, for my blood will water 
them. Sanguis martyrum semen imperil. These 
last days I have been reading in Plutarch of 
Julius Cssar, and find much comfort. For mark 
what Julius did. He built the Empire of Rome, 
but the Empire would not have endured but for 
his death. 'Twas Brutus' dagger that sealed the 
work. I have often a fancy that the great 
Julius knew of the plot and welcomed it, for he 
believed that such a structure must be baptized 
with the blood of the builder." 


" You choose death, then, of your free will ? ' 
said I. " I am an old campaigner and have 
often faced it, but God knows I have not the 
heart to walk to it with so calm an eye." 

He smiled sadly. " Your flattery is ill-placed. 
I have nothing to live for but my dreams. I 
have buried my dear son, and for my wife I can 
best save the poor relics of my fortunes by 
returning home. My old companions are all 
dead and forgotten. I have only dreams to 
furnish my bare house of life, and for those 
dreams I must spend what remains to me." 

I could have wept at his words, but 'twas not 
for me to frustrate so high a nobility. 

" Will you tell the crews ? ' I asked hoarsely. 
" They are in an ill temper, and will heed only 

A trumpet blew the assembly, and yesternight's 
mutineers, besides my loyal fighting-men, gathered 
below the poop. Raleigh stood by the rudder, 
looking cheerfully as if he had a pleasant tale to 

" Dear hearts," he said, " it has been told me 
that you are concerned about the future. Fear 


not, for I will land no man in England against 
his will. Those who desire it I will put ashore 
in Ireland with some provision for their suste- 
nance. It has been told me also that you grieve 
for the fate of your Admiral, and would have me 
keep the seas or seek a French port. Your 
charity stirs me greatly, but you waste your pity. 
I have nothing left to me but my honour, and I 
go to redeem it. Think me not boastful, but I 
hold death as no more than a thistle's down, if 
thereby I can come to my desire. If they slay 
me, England will think the better of me, and in 
a hundred years men's minds will turn to my 
thoughts, and see their worthiness. Fear not for 
me, brave lads. 'Tis for England's sake and her 
unborn people's that I must return. You would 
not hinder me from so great a joy ? ' 

There was no answer from the crews, but there 
were few dry eyes among them. And these 
were the fellows who twelve hours before would 
have flung us both into the sea ! . . . 

Chapter X. 

*' Give me my scallop-shell of quiet, 

My staff of faith to rest upon, 
My scrip of joy, immortal diet, 

My bottle of salvation, 
My gown of glory, hope's true gage ; 
And thus I'll take my pilgrimage. 

Blood must be my body's balmer ; 

No other balm will there be given ; 
Whilst my soul like quiet palmer, 
. Travelleth towards the land of heaven ; 
Over the silver mountains, 
Where spring the nectar fountains : 

There will I kiss 

The bowl of bliss ; 
And drink mine everlasting fill 
Upon every milken hill. 
My soul will be a-dry before ; 
But after, it will thirst no more." 


Chapter X. 



... I WAS sore delayed on the road, owing to 
the mires about Winchester, and it was 
the morning of Thursday, October the 2 8th, 
before I arrived in London. I went straight to 
my lady Raleigh's lodgings in Broad Street, 
that I might comfort my dear cousin. On the 
way I had heard the issue of the trial, and how 
Sir Walter was to be executed the next morning. 
'Twas no surprise, for His Majesty had resolved 
at all costs on friendship with Spain, and the 
voice of Count Gondomar had more authority 
than any Englishman's. But so slender was the 
case that the Court dare not condemn him for 
his Guiana voyage, seeing that if he had shed 

* Francis Champernoun wrote this chapter and the one following, and left 
them as a bequest to his children. A hundred years afterwards the Reverend 
Launcelot Matthews incorporated, by permission of the family, certain passages 
from the narrative in his Itincrarium Devonice. 


Spanish blood 'twas because his journey was 
opposed, and all England held that Spain had 
no better title to Guiana than to Kent. So they 
fell back upon the old trial, fifteen years before, 
and he was judged to die by reason of his share 
in Cobham's plot. I leave future ages to approve 
the honesty of such a course. Sir Walter was to 
perish that Spain might be appeased, but the 
charge on which he fell was that once he had been 
too good a friend to Spain ! I envy not the con- 
science of those who compassed this pitiful folly. 
I found my cousin Bess sore shrunken with 
grief, but sustained by that great heart which 
for twenty years of stress had never failed her. 
She had lived so long in suspense that the worst 
was no new thing, and she bore it as one who 
has ever been an intimate of sorrow. My lady 
Astley was with her, the wife of the lieutenant 
of the Tower, who had been a good friend 
to Sir Walter in those last days. 'Twas her 
daughter Lucy that became the wife of that 
noted soldier, Colonel Hutchinson, who in after 
years held Nottingham Castle against King 


In the evening Sir Walter was brought to the 
Gate-house of St. Peter at Westminster, and Bess 
and I set out to visit him. 'Twas a rainy night, 
and round the gateway stood a press of citizens, 
eager to have news of the prisoner, for he was 
dearly loved by the common folk. Heads were 
bared as Bess entered, and there were cries of 
wrath and regret. " Bid Sir Walter be of good 
cheer," one fellow whispered ; " for he leaves a 
name that will never be wiped out of English 

To my amazement, we found him seated amid 
a group of friends, cheerfully taking tobacco. 
His countenance these latter years had been 
often heavy and his eye wild and restless. But 
now 'twas as if some kind hand had smoothed 
the lines from his brow. He seemed younger 
than he had looked since I saw him enter 
London after his Cadiz fight. His eye was mild 
and peaceful, but grave, as became one on the 
threshold of eternity. Yet as he set a chair for 
his wife there was merriment in it. 

" There is scant room for the spectators at 
to-morrow's play," he said. "I have been warn- 


ing Sir Hugh to come in good time if he would 
make sure of a place. I alone need have no 
fears on that score." 

But when he saw my clouded brow he patted 
me on the shoulder and bade me be cheerful. 

" Grieve not for me, Francis," he said. 
" What is this world but a larger prison, out 
of which some are daily chosen for execution ? 
I am the fortunate one to die with my good 
friends around me. It might have been in a 
Guiana swamp or in some gale of the Ocean, 
where I would have had scant time to think of 

Francis Thyn, my cousin, who did not cease 
to weep with his head in his hands, counselled 
him not to carry himself with too much bravery. 
" Your enemies have ever accused you of pride," 
he said, " and it is seemly to go to God with a 
grave spirit." 

Sir Walter laughed. " Fear not, dear cousin. 
I am merry because I have little to sorrow for. 
Of late I am the less fit for labour, and I wel- 
come Death, which gives me rest. 'Tis my last 
mirth ; do not grudge it me. I grieve to part 


from you, my true wife and my true comrades, 
but it must not be said that Raleigh feared what 
he so often dared. I would have England see me 
go joyfully to my end, that she may honour the 
faith that can support a man both in life and 
death. 'Tis my testament, dear lad, the little 
all I have to leave." 

Wine was brought, and he pledged us in a 
cup. "To the Indies," he drank, "which the 
English shall yet possess ! To the brave fellows 
who will yet sail to the West with better fortunes 
than me ! " 

Then he asked that all should leave him, save 
Bess and me and Doctor Tounson, the Dean of 
Westminster, whom the Council had appointed 
to attend him. The Dean inquired into his 
spiritual state. He answered with reverence, 
saying that he was persuaded that no man 
that loved God and feared Him could die 
with cheerfulness and courage, except he were 
assured of God's love and favour. I have never 
seen a resolution so calm and heavenly. The 
Dean would have encouraged him against the 
fear of death, but Sir Walter answered that he 


had no fear. " The manner of my death," he 
said, " may seem grievous to others, but for 
myself I would rather die so than of a burning 
fever. My soul will be my own till the steel 
falls." Then he gave to the Dean his Bible to 
keep as a remembrance. In it he had written 
some lines which I transcribe : 

" Even such is time, that takes in trust 
Our youth, our joys, our all we have, 
And pays us but with age and dust ; 
Who in the dark and silent grave, 
When we have wandered all our ways, 
Shuts up the story of our days ! 
But from this earth, this grave, this dust, 
The Lord shall raise me up, I trust." 

After this Doctor Tounson left, and he was 
alone with Bess and me. He embraced his wife, 
stroking her hair, and saying that to leave her 
was the only bitterness of death. I mind that 
she wept sore, a thing I had not marked before 
in her, for she was a woman of great strength of 
soul. " For thirty years, dear heart," he said, 
" you have been my true comrade, and have ever 
sweetened my sorrows and doubled my joys. I 
have so ordered things that you may live out the 
days yet left to you in a little ease, and Francis 


will guide your small estate well. I leave you 
the charge of our son, and the care of my 
memory. Be not lonely, dear wife, for God's 
good angels will be near you, and in a little time 
we will be joined in Paradise." 

I was too moved to take note of what followed, 
but I mind that she asked him if he had any 
other words for her. He said that on the 
morrow he would speak from the scaffold to 
all England, touching the cause for which he 
died, but to her he needed no defence. Then 
he remembered something about an Irish debt 
which he bade me discharge, and he besought 
me to do something for the memory of Captain 
Keymis. His one regret was that he had used 
harsh speech to him on the Guiana voyage, and 
he would fain have undone it. 

The hour of twelve struck from St. Peter's 
clock, and Bess declared that he must rest. Her 
tears broke out afresh at the parting, and she told 
him that she had leave to bury his body. " It 
is well, dear Bess," he said, smiling, " that thou 
mayst dispose of that dead which thou hadst 
not always the disposing of when alive." And 


when she had almost swooned, he held her in 
his arms and bade her show her courage to the last. 
" 'Tis no true parting, sweet lass," he said, "for the 
living and the dead are alike in God's keeping." 

But I think his philosophy was near breaking. 
For as I led her out of the chamber, he looked 
after her with anguished eyes, as knowing that 
he would never see her again on earth. 

I left Bess with my lady Astley praying by her 
side, and reached the Gate-house by seven o'clock 
of a raw autumn morn. I had a warrant from 
the Council for admission, and found Sir Walter 
busy with his dressing. He had donned his 
richest suit, for, as he said, he would not dress 
less nobly for death than for a bridal. He wore, 
I remember, a yellow satin doublet and breeches 
of black taffeta and silk stockings, and over all 
a black wrought velvet night-gown. Likewise 
on account of his ague he had a laced skull-cap. 
He ate a hearty breakfast, and smoked a pipe 
of tobacco, as if he were at Sherborne with a 
summer's day before him and no more care than 
the ordering of his gardens. 


About the hour of nine the Sheriffs and their 
men arrived, and bade him make ready to attend 
them. The jailer of the Gate-house, who loved 
him deeply, brought a cup of hot sack against 
the chill of the morning. He drank it gladly, 
and when asked if it were to his liking, he said : 
"I will answer you as did the fellow who drank 
of St. Giles' bowl as he went to Tyburn : ' 'Tis 
good drink,' he said, * if a man might but tarry 
by it.' Then he bade me farewell, kissing me 
on both cheeks ; and with a great beating of 
drums he was gone. 

I had a seat provided in Sir Randolph Carew's 
balcony, but I chose rather to join the press 
around the scaffold, that I might be near to 
Sir Walter at the end. There was a mighty 
crowd of folk, among whom I saw old sailormen 
and grim bronzed fellows from the ports, whose 
mouths were set sternly as if to choke back tears. 
Far off from Citywards came the jangling of bells, 
for 'twas the day of the Lord Mayor's procession ; 
but that must have been an empty show, for near 
all London was assembled in Palace Yard, and 
the barriers which had been built were swept 


away like sandhills by the tide. The scaffold 
was close in front of the Parliament House, 
where Sir Walter had once his seat. A fire 
burned by it for the Sheriffs to warm themselves 
at, and as he mounted the steps, Sir Walter held 
his hands to the blaze. The ague was ever on 
him, and I knew that he feared lest a fit should 
take him and choke his utterance. 

My lords Northampton and Doncaster and 
Arundel, who had found monies for the Guiana 
voyage, ascended the scaffold and shook Raleigh's 
hand. I remember that in the crowd that 
pressed about its foot there was an old man with 
a bald head. Sir Walter noted him, and asked 
why he had ventured out on such a morning. 
" For no reason," said the old man, " but to see 
you and pray God for you." Whereupon Sir 
Walter took his laced cap from his head and 
flung it to him. " Take it, my friend," he cried, 
" for you need it now more than I." The fellow 
received it gladly, but did not don it. He folded 
it reverently and placed it in his bosom. 

Then Raleigh began to speak. At first his 
voice was hoarse with the cold, and his face wan 


and pinched like one with the ague. But as he 
continued his voice cleared, his colour returned, 
and once again he had the air of youth and 
freedom that I remembered on the night before. 
He began by thanking God that He had sent him 
to die in the light before an assembly of honour- 
able witnesses, and that his fever had not taken 
him at the time. Then he told the story of the 
Guiana voyage, and rebutted the charge of such 
as thought him an intriguer with France or a 
reviler of the King. " It is no time for me to 
flatter or to fear princes," he said, " I who am 
subject only unto Death ; yet, if I ever spake 
disloyally or dishonestly of the King, the Lord 
blot me out of His Book of Life ! ' 

He spoke of his purposes in the Guiana voyage, 
and called on my lord Arundel to bear witness 
that he had ever promised to return, whether he 
failed or succeeded. He told how the crew of 
the Destiny would fain have kept him out of 
England, unless he had striven with them and 
won their consent to go back. Then he spoke 
of my lord Essex's death, and his voice faltered. 
There were some that said he had slighted the 


Earl at his execution. "Nay," he cried, "rather 
I bewailed him with tears. Though I was of a 
contrary faction, yet I knew well that his enemies 
were my enemies, and 'twas those who did him 
to death who later pulled me down." 

Last, in a hush so deep that the striking of 
the hour from St. Peter's Church was like the 
trump of doom, he sought from all pardon 
and prayers. He said : " I entreat that you will 
all join with me in prayer to the great God of 
Heaven, whom I have grievously offended, for I 
have been a soldier, a sailor, and a courtier, which 
are courses of wickedness and vice. ... I have 
a long journey to take, and must bid the company 
farewell. I have been a man of many ventures, 
and now I embark on the last and longest. So I 
take my leave of you, making my peace with 

The Sheriffs bade all depart from the scaffold, 
and there were left only Sir Walter, the Dean, 
and the headsman. The press of the throng had 
brought me close under the bars, and I could 
mark every line of Raleigh's face. While all 


men were sobered and solemnized by his words, 
many weeping silently, he himself bore a bright 
and cheerful countenance. I was so taken by the 
sight that I forgot to sorrow. Nay, there seemed 
no cause to sorrow, for the man was all radiant 
and joyful, like a youth setting out on a happy 

He gave his hat and some money to the 
attendants who had been with him at the Gate- 
house, and then prepared himself without assist- 
ance for the block. He took off his gown and 
doublet and bared his neck. I noticed how 
brown was the upper part where the wind and 
sun had beaten, and how white the lower. 
'Twas like a line to guide the hand of Death. 

He called for the axe, and the headsman, a 
lean bowed fellow much overcome by the 
occasion, fumbled and would have denied it. 
Raleigh chid him. " Do you think I am a babe 
to fear steel ? " he asked. 

He ran his finger down the edge, and turned 
to the Sheriffs with a smile. " 'Tis a sharp 
medicine, but 'tis a sure cure for all diseases." 

After that he went to the four corners of the 

(1,562) 15 


scaffold and spoke to the crowd. He asked their 
pardon for what he had done amiss in life, and 
besought them to remember the good and forget 
the ill. " Cherish my dreams," he said. " I am 
like the man in the fairy tale who dreamed true, 
though he got nothing but blows for it." He 
asked them to pray to God to bestow on him 
strength. To my lord Arundel he said some- 
thing which I could not catch, but which I 
judged was a message to the King. Last, the 
Dean asked him in what faith he died. He 
replied that he was of the faith of the Church of 
England, and hoped to have all his sins washed 
away by the precious blood of our Saviour 

Then I think my eyes dazzled, and I seemed 
to see him larger than mortal above that multi- 
tude. Save that figure on the scaffold all the 
world went small. The Dean was but a bent old 
man, with silly eyes. The headsman and the 
Sheriffs were things of straw and tinsel. The 
Lords in the balconies were hollow creatures, all 
fearful and craven. The great throng was made 
up of weary broken folk, sheep with no shepherd. 


'Twas an assemblage of death-heads ; only Raleigh 
lived ; only he was young and strong and joyful. 
I was in a trance like St. Paul, and seemed to see 
for one moment how Sir Walter's future fame 
would rise to comfort this realm of England. 
I was pressed close under the bars of the scaffold, 
and by stretching my hand could almost have 
touched his feet. I looked up into his face, and, 
like Stephen's, it was transfigured. Aforetime 
there had been a petulance in the lips and a pride 
in the eye : but all was cleared, so that it 
shone with good-will and the peace of God. 

In a dream I heard words. The headsman 
spread a cloak for him to kneel on, and besought 
his pardon. Raleigh put his hand on the man's 
shoulder and forgave him. Then the Dean 
would have him lay his head on the block with 
the face to the East. Sir Walter, smiling, asked, 
" What matter how the head lies so the heart 
be right ? " but he did the Dean's will. He was 
offered a bandage for his eyes, which he put away. 
" Think you," he asked, " that I fear the shadow 
of the axe when I fear not the substance ? ' 

He kneeled and laid his head on the block. 


and as he kneeled he cried to the people, " Give 
me heartily your prayers." There was no answer, 
but a sobbing like the wind in trees. 

He bade the headsman strike when he should 
hold forth his hands. His lips moved as if 
in prayer. I had no fear or sorrow, for what 
I saw seemed to me too glorious for sadness. 

The signal was given, but the headsman, who 
shook like an aspen, did not stir. 

" Strike, man, strike ! ' cried Sir Walter. 
" What dost thou fear ? ' They were his last 

The blow fell, and then a second, and the 
head was severed from the body. As it dropped 
the lips moved, still in prayer. 

Then my trance departed, and mortal sorrow 
flowed over my heart. As I turned, my eyes 
blind with tears, I heard the headsman's voice, 
hoarse and weak as if it feared the lie " This is 
the head of a traitor ! ' 

Chapter XI. 



"The greatest honour that ever belonged to the greatest Monarkes was the 
inlarging their Dominions, and erecting Commonweales." 



Chapter XL 



. . . (~)N a mild afternoon in early April we 
came out of the wolds which stretch 
east and west from Shaftesbury, and entered the 
pleasant vale of Sherborne. Of old the manor 
belonged to Sir Walter Raleigh, but now my 
lord Digby had it from the King. There rode 
with me my cousin Bess, whom I carried to my 
house at Greenaway in Devon that she might 
find there a quiet retreat after the troublous years 
she had known. As we topped the hill, and saw 
the meads and plantations and the shining stream 
all yellow in the April sunlight, we reined up in 
a sudden sorrow. I have always held Sherborne 
the true march of the West Country, where 
something of our mellow Devon air begins to 


temper the bleak downs of Dorset. For certain 
I have never seen the vale more fair than on this 
afternoon. The Castle lay silent, for my lord 
was ever about the Court, and was but now back 
in England from Spain. But I marked the 
gardens Sir Walter had planted, and especially 
the terrace, where I have often walked with him 
and listened to his discourse. Every stone of 
the house was of his building, and every lawn 
called him its creator. For myself, I choked at the 
sight, and Bess wept as if her heart would break. 
I bade her dismount, and gave the horses to a 
groom's charge, while I led her to a little hillock 
beside the highway. I was never one to chide 
sorrow, for I hold that to grieve is a natural 
comfort. All that day Bess had been in better 
heart, full of plans for her boy Carew, and ready 
to welcome the peace of Greenaway. But now, 
at the sight of Sherborne, she was back among 
the pitiful events of the autumn, when the 
noblest head in England fell. She turned weep- 
ing eyes to the gardens, where once she had 
drunk her fill of happiness, and, sobbing bitterly, 
she told of this and that ; how Sir Walter had 


planned a new fish-pond, and planted a long alley 
of cypress. Then she fell silent, for steps were 
coming down the road. 

'Twas an old, grizzled fellow, who walked 
lame, as if from a long journey. He stumped 
along very cheerfully, whistling an air beloved by 
Devon sailors, The Almiranty of Santa Fee. He 
had writ large on him the marks of the sea, in 
his mahogany cheek, his clear blue eye, and the 
bleached hair which comes from Tropic suns. 
Such figures as his have grown scarce in these 
days, and the sight of him lightened my heavi- 
ness. He came abreast of us, pulled off his hat, 
and would have passed on, when he looked at 
Bess and stopped short of a sudden. 

Bess turned her sorrowful eyes on him ; but he 
never looked at her face. His gaze was fixed on 
her bosom, where hung a little jewel of gold, 
which Sir Walter had prized greatly, and wore 
always next his heart. He stammered and took 
a step forward ; then halted and stared blankly. 

" The jewel ! " he muttered, " Sir Walter's 
jewel ! You have the charm, my lady." 

Bess rose and held out her hand. 


" I wear Sir Walter's jewel, good friend, be- 
cause I was once Sir Walter's wife." 

At this the seaman was on his knees in the 
dust, kissing her hand. 

" O my lady, my lady ! ' he cried ; " I have 
never clapped eyes on you before, but I was an 
old seaman of Raleigh's, and he showed me that 
charm in Guiana. 'Tis the charm for El Dorado, 
my lady." 

" He has gone thither," she said, " and hath 
no longer need of a charm." 

I think the sight of the old sailor had braced 
her to a better mood. 

" True, true, mistress," he said ; " that is a 
brave soul. I am old Nathan Stubbs, who 
adventured with him to Guiana twenty years 
ago, and fought with him at Cadiz and in the 
Islands. I have sailed many voyages, but for me 
he was my sole Captain. I am on my way back 
from London town, where I journeyed to see the 
last of him." 

" But that was six months since," I said. 

" True, sir," he nodded ; " but travelling for a 
poor man is slow work, and I have a foolish leg. 


The worst of the way is by now, and I shall be 
home by the week's end." 

This he said in a tone of merriment, but I 
could see by the leanness of his body that the 
journey had been as hard as it had been slow. 

" There be loyal men left in the West," I said. 

" There were a thousand who would have 
walked for Sir Walter to the world's end," he 
answered. " But some had wives, and some had 
young children, and some were too poor to buy 
provender, and only Nathan Stubbs, who calls no 
man or woman master, had the luck to go. 
What a fortunate man I be ! ' 

" And now ? " I asked. 

" Why, now I go back to Budleigh, to bide 
the rest of my days in the house which my uncle 
Noah bequeathed me. I am too old for voyages, 
and there be no captains to sail with. I will 
smoke my pipe on the harbour wall, and tell my 
tales to the young, in the hope that I may breed 
up another John Hawkins or Francis Drake. 
For another Raleigh I have no hope, for his like 
comes not again." 

He sat himself down on the grass beside us, 


and pulled forth a great brass tobacco-box. 
When he had lit his pipe, he inquired of me the 
name of the castle in the trees. 

I told him it was Sherborne, a former house 
of Sir Walter's. 

" Ay," said he, " I have heard on't. Sir 
Walter had many dwellings in his day, but he 
had but the one home. The King could take his 
manors, but he could not make him homeless." 

Bess looked up at him, and asked of what he 

" Why, my lady, as I read it, Sir Walter had 
but one home, and that was the sea. Or, maybe 
'twas in the Western lands where his fancy ever 
turned. But 'twas not in England, or in any 
stone walls or green gardens, though he loved 
them well." 

Bess smiled through half-shed tears. 

" That is a comforting thought, Master Stubbs. 
I have been looking at Sherborne, and grieving 
for the happy days that are past, and the fair 
estate that is now another's. But you say truly. 
Sir Walter had a better estate, which none could 
take from him.' 


" Ay, and 'tis still his, and his spirit holds it 
in trust for England. Look you, my lady, when 
I saw Sir Walter's head fall I was out of my 
mind with sorrow. With some old comrades we 
sought our lodging in Wapping, and would have 
plotted a great slaughter of them who had com- 
passed the crime. But by good fortune I slept 
on the matter, and in the morning I was come to 
a better mind. For thus I reasoned with myself. 
Those who have taken his life have done him the 
best service. There is no honest soul in England 
but thrills with the shame of it, and glories in so 
proud a death. A spirit is abroad which will 
breed and multiply, and will yet do more than 
Raleigh did in that cause he loved. So I says to 
myself, ' Nathan Stubbs,' I says, ' it ill becomes 
an ignorant man such as you to be interfering 
with the wise ways of the Almighty.' So I held 
back the others from violence, and beyond a 
broken head or two London took no hurt of us. 
We are scattered now, and I am hobbling back 
to Budleigh ; ly-.u all th<? way I have cheered my 
heart with the promise, I have been in Virginia, 
my lady, and seen the noble rivers, and the forests 


of tall trees, and the plains of deep grass. Some 
day we English will dwell there, and build a new 
nation. Ay, and wherever on the earth there is 
a fine land to be made out of the wilderness our 
children will plant the English flag." 

He swung to his feet and looked into the West, 
where the sun was now beginning to decline. 

" There is a short path to Axminster near by, 
and I must be well on the road to Misterton 
before the darkening. Fare-you-well, my lady. 
It is like we will never meet on earth, but 
Nathan Stubbs gives you his word of comfort for 
a sore heart. 'Tis Sir Walter's saying : Keep in 
mind those better Indies than the King of Spain's." 

As we watched the steadfast old figure plod- 
ding down the road Bess laid her hand on my 
arm and smiled. 

" God has sent me a true consoler," she said. 
" I weep no more for Sherborne. Nay, I rejoice 
that Sir Walter hath left to us and to all England 

an inheritance so princely." 

: '. ' 

' ' ' ' 


1 i ' 

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'F %_. -' Jtr 

-\t/"5-k /^^ --i':-^v- ^^S^e^r^^HA.H-iatV^vli^s.^S,.: " I 

/.%'^|^^^|^^^54^^ .--; ,^\ l 

By the Same Author. 



Price 3s. 6d. 


" Prester John is a splendid story, not merely compact 
with thrilling scenes, but distinguished by a fine literary 
flavour, due partly to the author's style and partly to his 
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Davie Crawfurd, Laputa, Wardlaw, an Aberdeen school- 
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others are men of flesh and blood as living and real as 
the people one meets every day in the street, and a great 
deal more interesting." Scotsman. 

" Mr. Buchan has done a very bold thing. He has 
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of the- conventional properties. But that is not the full 
extent of his inspired audacity. He has written a book 
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loined by parents. Prester John, if we mistake not, will be 
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this highly educated African, eloquent in the cause of 
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hair.' " The Aberdeen Free Press. 

" If we can accept Stevenson's definition of Romance as 
' sudden consciousness of background ' (and by ' back- 
ground ' he evidently meant the hidden forces that work 
behind it), then David Crawfurd, the narrator of Mr. 
Buchan's latest novel, Pre&ter John, assistant-storekeeper 
at Blaauwildebeestefontein, South Africa, and sometime 
boy and lantern-bearer of Kirkcaple, Fifeshire, is a 
romancer to the manner born. Not until we had reached 
the end of the story did we realize that, apart from a 
brief mention of David's mother at the beginning, there 
had not been through all its pages so much as the flutter 
of a single petticoat. 'Even the youngest hearts 
grow old/ he protests in his dedication. But we have 
found only youth in the epic freshness and gusto of his 
spirited tale." Westminster Gazette. 


" ' It is a long time since I came across a romance so fine 
as Prester John, by Mr. John Buchan/ says Mr. James 
Douglas. ' I think Robert Louis Stevenson would have 
revelled in it, for it is in the Stevensonian vein, although 
not in the least imitative either in style or in plot.' " The 

" Young David Crawfurd, the narrator and hero of 
Mr. Buchan's vehemently exciting South African romance, 
is a son of the manse who abandons theology for com- 
merce and adventure. On the recommendation of an 
uncle, he gets the offer of acting as an assistant-store- 
keeper in the North Transvaal, promptly closes with it, and 
starts for South Africa in a fortnight. The narrative is 
packed full of incident, and room is found for much illu- 
minating mental portraiture." The Spectator. 

London, Edinburgh, Dublin, and New York. 





Flo; ida. k'rys . o'' ' 




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